Lewis Hamilton was beaten fair and square by Mercedes team-mate George Russell in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday evening.
The seven-time world champion could only manage a P5 finish ahead of one of the most demanding races of the season on Sunday. His team-mate, meanwhile, put his Mercedes onto the front row with a mega lap.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 about his qualifying display, Hamilton said: “Clearly we had a really great package here. The car was feeling incredible yesterday and there was so much hope that with some tweaks we would be able to challenge the Ferraris, and obviously one of the cars was able to do that and I wasn’t today.
“[We] made big changes overnight and it just got away from me again. I was just so slow today. Definitely disappointing but tomorrow is a new day and I really hope George gets a great start tomorrow and puts some pressure on those Ferraris. It would be great for him to get a win.”
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Hamilton also addressed the issue of traffic, which affected plenty of drivers. He said: “Just in Q1, the traffic was… Yeah, Q1 was really bad when everyone moved over and there was a bunch of people. I just tried to stay out of trouble, to be honest, but yeah it was definitely messy at the beginning. I didn’t have any traffic otherwise.”
While it was a frustrating afternoon for Mercedes’ seven-time world champion, it was one of the best Saturdays of the season for the man on the other side of the garage as Russell put his W14 on the front row of the grid.
The 25-year-old Briton looked mightily fast in both Q1 and Q2 and came so close to pipping Ferrari star Carlos Sainz to pole position when all the chips were on the table in Q3.
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Talking about his immense qualifying showing, Russell said: “It was definitely a challenging session. When you’re sat in that car it’s like a sauna sweating it out. Really happy with this weekend as a whole.
“I felt really confident in the car, the team did a great job with the strategy. We are on an off-set strategy compared to everybody else, so we have an extra set of medium tyres tomorrow which nobody around us has.
“So to get to Q3 and be on the front row with a strategic advantage tomorrow is an exciting place to be. With our mediums, we can try to put Ferrari into a difficult position and try to force them into an error and get the upper hand. So that’s what we are looking for.”
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