Lewis Hamilton was beaming after a strong start to the Singapore weekend, but commented on how he found it ‘interesting’ teams voted against another DRS zone at Marina Bay.
Hamilton finished his practice day in Singapore in fifth place, with George Russell finishing in third, on what was a strong opening day of track action at Marina Bay.
With Red Bull off the boil throughout Friday practice, the Mercedes duo were close competitors for Ferrari at the head of the field, and Hamilton was thrilled with how the day had unfolded for his team.
Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes have a good platform to work from
Speaking to the media after the day’s action, Hamilton said it had been a smooth start to the weekend at what is usually a tricky track for the teams to fettle their car’s setups in for.
“It’s actually been a really good day. It’s been nice being out here,” he said.
“It was a really smooth sailing day, I think we’ve started on the right foot.
“I think the car progressed from P1 to P2, which is not too often the case. So I feel like we’ve got a good platform to work off.
“We are a little bit off, compared to the Ferraris, but we’ll work overnight to see if we can close that gap. I think we’re very close to the top, there are three or four teams very, very close – within a tenth or so of each other.”
With Singapore having modified the circuit layout in order to remove a couple of corners towards the end of the lap, Hamilton was effusive in praising how the changes have improved the circuit.
“I think the changes to the track have been great, it really opened up the circuit to be even greater than it was before,” he said.
“The changes they’ve done with the surface, the new tarmac they’ve put down has made it so much more enjoyable to drive. I’m definitely excited for tomorrow, we’ve just got to make sure we’re sensible with the changes we make.”
Lewis Hamilton brands it ‘interesting’ teams voted against DRS section
While all the F1 drivers wanted to have the new straight created by the corners being removed to have a fourth DRS zone, the FIA have confirmed that it isn’t a matter currently under consideration.
“We won’t be assessing any additional DRS zones for the Singapore Grand Prix,” an FIA spokesperson told PlanetF1.com.
“It is something that was considered following the change in layout for this year, and the FIA contacted all of the teams several weeks ago to ask for their feedback and input. There was, however, no clear consensus from those teams that responded and, following our safety simulations, it was decided that we wouldn’t take the matter any further.”
Hamilton said he found the lack of support from the teams to be of some concern.
“I don’t think, at the moment, there’ll be more overtaking,” he said.
“Well, maybe there’ll be a slightly better overtaking into Turn 7 just because the track is better through that first couple of corners. But I think we need the DRS through that new section which all we drivers requested from the FIA.
“The FIA asked all the teams and a couple of teams turned it down. So, in the driver’s briefing, we’ll try and bring it up. The teams should be for more racing, not against it. It’s interesting to have a few teams that are against it. But we’ll discuss it and try. Overall, it’s going to be an interesting race, it’ll be down to deg though mostly.”
The exact division of the teams regarding the DRS zone hasn’t been made public, but a hint as to how the teams voted was made on Sky F1 during the practice coverage.
Presenter Martin Brundle told Red Bull boss Christian Horner that he had heard that, of the 10 teams, five had failed to reply to the FIA, three teams said no, and two teams said yes. Suggesting to Horner that the other teams voted against the DRS given that Red Bull’s RB19 is well-known up and down the grid for its effective DRS setup, Horner smiled and mysteriously said, “Well guessed!”