Hamilton finished first practice on top and admitted that the car felt well balanced during the first 90 minutes of running. However, he felt that the car went away from him in the second session. He ended the second session of the day in fourth place, just over one second down on leader Sebastian Vettel.
Discussing his Friday running, Hamilton said in a team statement: “It wasn’t the perfect Friday for us but we got on with our programme and know where we have to make improvements for tomorrow. The balance of the car felt really good in P1 but it definitely went away from us in P2. There is a lot of work to do this evening but we’re used to that on a Friday night and will just get on with it and focus on our car and performance.”
He added that qualifying is crucial around the Marina Bay Street Circuit: “It’s so difficult to overtake around at this circuit that you want to qualify as high up as possible and, of course, aim for the front row but that will be tough. The circuit is much improved here without the chicane and Turn 10 feels like a much nicer corner now.”
Team-mate Nico Rosberg was more up-beat about the results of free practice after finishing fourth in first practice and third in the second session. He said: “It’s great to be back in Singapore although the conditions are incredibly hot out there and it’s a tough challenge for the drivers. We had a reasonable day but there is still some work to do this evening as our competitors seem to be very quick again.”
The German continued: “We will be looking at how we used the tyres this evening and make sure we are on top of potential overheating and degradation on the long runs as there are no long straights here to cool the tyres down.”
Team principal Ross Brawn described the first day of on-track action as “solid” before adding: “It’s hard to know exactly where we stand because there is a high lap time effect for running extra fuel at this circuit, so that can mix the field somewhat. The car seemed reasonably consistent today which has given us a good platform to work from tomorrow.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic