Mercedes has admitted that the team is not favourite to win this weekend’s Singapore GP despite the world champions winning all but one race this season.
— MERCEDES AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 12, 2016
Last year Mercedes were humbled in Singapore while enjoying an equally dominant campaign. Speaking ahead of the race Lewis Hamilton has said that they are sure to have “a big fight on our hands if we are up at the front.”
Hamilton is now just two points in front of Nico Rosberg and he faces what is likely to be his toughest race of the year. The track suits Red Bull perfectly and the team will take confidence from the fact that they beat Mercedes to pole at Monaco, another street circuit.
Last year in Singapore was the first time that a Mercedes powered car had failed to take pole position in 31 events. However, the team’s executive technical direct Paddy Lowe has said that they have done a lot of work over the year to understand why last year happened and fix it for this time around.
Despite this Toto Wolff said this week that, “Ferrari were mighty around this circuit last year and it will suit the high downforce design philosophy followed by Red Bull. We must not make the mistake of thinking we are favourites this weekend.”
It is expected that tyre strategy will be crucial to the race but this year the teams have had to make their tyre selections on a race-by-race basis several months in advance. When the selections were revealed it showed that Ferrari has gone bold by requesting nine sets of ultra-softs while both Mercedes and Red Bull have taken seven. Last year’s race was a two-stopper run on super-softs and softs, both of which will be used again this weekend.
As a result tomorrow’s race is sure to be a real test for Hamilton but also a perfect opportunity to prove his dominance.