Red Bull, Fer­rari a threat to Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton says

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

TRIPLE world cham­pion Lewis Hamilton ex­pects the chal­lenge from Red Bull and Fer­rari to make it a tough week­end for Mercedes at the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix.

Mercedes strug­gled in the same race last year but dom­i­nated the rest of the sea­son - just as they are do­ing now.

They be­lieve they know why they un­der­per­formed but are still ex­pect­ing one of the clos­est races of the year.

“It’s not go­ing to be an easy-breezy drive,” said Hamilton. “Even when we won in 2014 it wasn’t straight­for­ward.”

The Bri­ton heads into the week­end with a two-point lead over Nico Ros­berg, who won the last race in Italy.

Af­ter the first four races, he was 43 points adrift of his Ger­man team-mate.

“Monza didn’t quite go to plan,” said Hamilton, who bat­tled back to sec­ond af­ter drop­ping to sixth on the first lap.

“But when you look at how far we’ve come as a team this sea­son, from the po­si­tion we were in, then I re­alise I’m in a phe­nom­e­nal po­si­tion.”

Red Bull ex­pect Sin­ga­pore to be their best chance of a vic­tory since Monaco, where Daniel Ric­cia­rdo lost out on the win be­cause of a slow pit-stop.

They claim the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Sin­ga­pore track, which has 23 cor­ners and few long straights, di­min­ish the in­flu­ence of the Mercedes en­gine, which has a power ad­van­tage over Red Bull’s Re­nault

But Mercedes say the per­for­mance com­par­isons be­tween the two teams are also in­flu­enced by the fact that Red Bull run their car with an aero­dy­namic phi­los­o­phy that in­creases drag.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff made a thinly veiled dig at Red Bull on this sub­ject af­ter Monza. “Our car is the best com­pro­mise,” said the Aus­trian. “We have 21 races through­out the sea­son and we have to have a chas­sis-en­gine com­bi­na­tion that works well in av­er­age.

“You have a team that is do­ing ex­tremely well on cir­cuits like Sin­ga­pore with high down­force but they are not com­pet­i­tive on a cir­cuit like [Monza].

“Then you can play the blame game and say the en­gine is not good enough, but if your car is draggy and has a rake like you are do­ing a hand­stand, then you can­not ex­pect to go fast on the straights.

“It is about find­ing the best com­pro­mise. Let’s see what hap­pens in Sin­ga­pore.”— BBC.

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