Singapore Grand Prix – Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says that preparation was key to success in Singapore.
The Marina Bay circuit hasn’t been a sure-fire competitive race for Mercedes in recent years, having been trounced by Ferrari in 2015 and poor in qualifying in 2017. However, with Hamilton’s win on Sunday now bringing Merc to four wins out of the last five races held in Singapore, it appears that is no longer applicable.
With Hamilton taking a comfortable win on Sunday over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after a strategic blunder from Ferrari saw Vettel trail home over thirty seconds off the lead, Wolff says it’s vindicated the hard work of Mercedes to rectify their weakness: “Singapore has been our bogey track for several years, so it is a special feeling to come here and win this race on pace. The entire team has worked so hard to understand the car and take steps forward, especially since our defeat in Spa, and this result is an indication that our work is paying off.”
“We prepared well for this weekend, came here determined to make a step and we delivered. It was a weekend of many parts: a stardust lap from Lewis in qualifying, a chess game of tyre management this evening, and some nervous moments with traffic and backmarkers during the race – but in the end, we outscored our rivals for both championships and delivered a really satisfying result.”
The only real threat to Hamilton’s lead in the race came when Hamilton found himself blocked in behind squabbling backmarkers. Verstappen quickly closed and thought about trying to find a gap to get past Hamilton, but Lewis was wise to it and covered it before negotiating the Haas of Romain Grosjean & Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin; both would receive time penalties for ignoring blue flags.
“There will be many discussions about backmarkers, who had a big influence on both drivers’ races; I think this is a topic for the drivers to discuss among themselves, but perhaps there is a way to optimise those blue flag rules on street circuits like this.” said Wolff afterwards.
“From our side, we can be pleased with a very solid weekend. We have leads in both championships but they change nothing in the mind-set of this team. We have six weekends to go and we know how quickly the situation can swing back against us. We will take it weekend by weekend, feet on the ground and determined to maximise our potential every time.”