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Hamilton drives a dream lap: Mercedes surprises itself

Hamilton drives a dream lap
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L ewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are the two main actors in the history of the GP Singapore. Vettel traveled to the eleventh night race in history with four best practice times and four wins at the Marina Bay Circuit. Lewis Hamilton was one pole position and one win behind his long-term rival. After the best times in qualifying, the Englishman has now equalized. And from the best starting position, the defending champion is automatically the favorite for the race. You know how difficult it is to overtake in the labyrinth of 23 corners. Last year only 16 overtaking maneuvers were counted.

Mercedes surprised itself. 'Together with Monte Carlo this is our worst track,' stated team boss Toto Wolff. Ferrari went into qualifying as the favorite. And up to Q3 everything looked like the forecasts could come true. Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time in Q2. And then, out of nowhere, Hamilton conjured a lap up his sleeve, which at first glance looked like a timekeeping mistake. 1.36.015 minutes. An average of 198.832 km /h. Never before has anyone raced around the Marina Bay Circuit as fast.

Hamilton had increased by 1.3 seconds compared to his fastest lap to date. His boss Toto Wolff was also exhausted. “When I saw the sector times, it seemed surreal to me. I usually never talk on the radio, but this time I got in touch with Lewis. It was the biggest lap I had ever seen from him. We knew what our car could do. That time was not on the bill. ”

The fear of Verstappen

Hamilton described his trip from the other star as spectacularly“ unspectacular ”. No kiss on the wall, no standing up, no white smoke from the tires. Just perfect. “I never slipped, the stern never broke, I was never off the line. My car and I were one. I knew right away that there wasn't much going on. ”

Hamilton was right. When he tried to force it on the second attempt, he was too late on the brakes at the beginning of the second sector. Great moments do not repeat themselves. Valtteri Bottas said thoughtfully: “Now I have to analyze where Lewis takes 7 tenths off me. All the other laps I was much closer to him. ”

Wolff didn't just praise his driver. “Man cannot function without the machine and vice versa.” In contrast to Ferrariall processes fit at Mercedes. The defending champion reserved his four hypersoft sets for the Q2 and Q3 so that the drivers could focus on their decisive laps.

That gave the world championship team the only tremendous game of the day. The ultrasoft tires were still pretty close to surviving Q1. If Hamilton had been 2 tenths slower, he would have been hit. 'My friend Fred Vasseur (Sauber) sent me a text message that said: Sometimes there is only two tenths between idiot and genius,' said Wolff with amusement.

The Mercedes worked better than expected on its fearful route. The overheating of the rear tires is more under control than ever before. Surprisingly low temperatures, a different chassis setup than in the past, an adapted driving style of the drivers. Once again, Mercedes has drawn the right conclusions from a key experience and implemented them profitably.

Wolff makes reference to Spa, where the Mercedes were too hard on their tires. Still, the race is far from being won, say the engineers: “Once Verstappen gets past us, it will be difficult. Red Bull clearly had the better long runs. “


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