Lewis Hamilton would not like to see Red Bull Racing weakened, but hopes that his own Mercedes team can improve in order to compete with former title rival Max Verstappen again. For the time being, however, he sees no reason to assume that this will already be the case in Singapore.
In the run-up to the Grand Prix weekend in Singapore, Hamilton was asked whether he thinks there are more opportunities, now that Verstappen is more likely to encounter setbacks in the chaos. “I don’t like to look at it that way,” Hamilton told Autosport. ‘I was previously asked whether I would rather take Max (Verstappen, ed.) or Adrian Newey from that team. I then said: Neither, we just have to make sure we improve and do a better job.’
Compliments to Verstappen and Red Bull
While Hamilton previously hinted at rule changes, this time he was extremely positive about Verstappen and Red Bull. ‘They have done a great job, and you can’t blame anyone for being so strong as a team. I want us to improve ourselves. There will be plenty of opportunities in the next eight races, so we need to make sure we are prepared to strike when it comes our way. That’s what I hope for.’
Last year the weekend started well for Hamilton, with the fastest time in the first free practice, but after that things quickly went downhill. “Last year we were quite competitive, but we didn’t have such a good race,” said the 38-year-old, who crossed the line in ninth from a third starting position after several incidents during the race. ‘Given the car we had then, I hope we can do better now. So hopefully we’ll be a little closer to the front of the field. I hope we can fight for a podium.’
Changes to circuit
Hamilton himself came back to Red Bull when he was asked about the changes in the circuit. ‘It makes the round a bit easier, that’s for sure. It gives Red Bull fewer corners to exit! It’s a short straight, so I don’t think it really gives any team much of an advantage. Maybe Ferrari is fast on that straight, or Red Bull. However, it is such a short straight section that I don’t think it is very decisive. To be honest, there is nothing our car is best at,” the Mercedes driver becomes increasingly negative during the interview. “This is not really a circuit where we have performed strongly in the past,” said Hamilton, who won four times in Singapore, three of them for Mercedes.