Only P5 for the championship leader Lewis hamilton in todays F1 night qualifying in Singapore. Team-mate Nico Rosberg starts directly from behind at P6 in tomorrows race.
The team will start on the third row of the grid tomorrow, missing out on pole position for the first time in 24 races. Both drivers struggling for grip during the qualifying. This year’s pole lap from Vettel was just under 2 seconds quicker (1:43.885) than last years’ time set by Lewis (1:45.681). Lewis and Nico ran prime and option tyres in Q1, with option tyres used throughout Q2 and Q3.
It is what it is today; I enjoyed it out there but we just didn’t have the pace. We weren’t surprised with the pace of the Ferrari as it was like that the whole weekend. We don’t know the reason why we weren’t as quick today, we obviously didn’t get the tyres switched on like everybody else did, but we need to look into it. We haven’t lost any performance on the car compared to two weeks ago but the guys in front were just too fast today. Tomorrow is going to be hard; it’s difficult to overtake but I’m still excited, I’ll be pushing hard and will do everything I can to make up positions.
The pace of the Ferrari is very impressive, starting from P6 is really frustrating. I had no grip in the corners, which was very strange. But there is a lot to play for tomorrow. Firstly I will work on overtaking Lewis, it’s very important for me to finish ahead of him. It seems that the front runners are also much quicker on high fuel from what we have seen on Friday. I tried a few things on the set up, but we didn’t really find out why we are so slow this weekend. It’s strange, until now we were quick on every track. But coming now to Singapore and seeing the difference to the quickest cars, is really not good.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
P5 and P6 certainly doesn’t reflect our expectations or the results we have been used to in recent seasons. Clearly, our car has not lost a huge amount of performance from one weekend to the next, but we just haven’t got to grips with the circuit this weekend. Already yesterday we were struggling and we just couldn’t pull out the lap time today; the drivers were on the edge and closely matched but we simply lacked grip compared to Ferrari and Red Bull, who were very impressive indeed. It looks like we have taken a wrong turn somewhere in the set-up or how we approached this weekend, but we will need to do some careful analysis to understand why that has happened. For now, our focus is a tough race tomorrow night. On a circuit which is so tough for the cars and drivers, and where overtaking is very difficult, we shouldn’t expect miracles tomorrow. It’s going to be a day for damage limitation.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
First of all, we must congratulate Ferrari and especially Sebastian on a fantastic qualifying performance today. Both Ferrari and Red Bull did a great job and that left us on row three of the grid, which are not the positions we have been used to recently. There is clearly something that we have not got right this weekend, as we have been off the pace since practice began yesterday – in spite of Lewis and Nico pushing the car right to the limit. We have been working hard on the problem through all three sessions, including final adjustments up to and during qualifying, but so far we have not understood the underlying reason for our lack of performance this weekend. We all know that the points are scored tomorrow, and we will be aiming to fight back in race conditions, but we also need to be realistic about where we stand this weekend.
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1