Lewis Hamilton has no desire to take either Max Verstappen or Adrian Newey “out of the equation”, instead he wants Mercedes to “level up” and beat them on merit.
Arriving at Singapore’s Marina Bay circuit for round 15 of the championship, Verstappen’s rivals have arguably their best opportunity yet to end the Dutchman’s winning streak.
Although the Red Bull driver is the favourite to win the race and extend his run to 11 on the trot, the Singapore circuit is not only hard on the cars but also on the drivers.
Lewis Hamilton is not looking to take Max Verstappen ‘out of the equation’
It’s one where drivers pay for mistakes, and they sometimes even pay for mistakes not of their own doing.
But that is not how Hamilton wants to see Verstappen’s run end.
“I don’t like to look at that sort of thing,” he told Motorsport.com.
“I was just asked a question earlier: would you rather take Max out of the equation or take Adrian Newey out of the equation? Something like that. And I was like, ‘neither’, I think we just have to level up and do a better job.
“They’ve done an exceptional job, and you can’t fault them for the amazing work that they collectively are doing and have done.
“I just want to level up all of us.
“But there’s a lot of opportunity for sure in these next eight races. So just trying to make sure that we are prepared to be there if something does happen to be coming our way. But we remain hopeful for that.”
Lewis Hamilton downplays Mercedes’ Singapore chances
This weekend’s race also marks Mercedes’ best chance of success based on the characteristics of their W14, a car that suffers a massive delta swing between low and high downforce circuits.
This is a high downforce track and one that should suit Mercedes with the team also putting in a good performance at the likes of Monaco and Hungary.
However, the seven-time World Champion downplayed that.
“I don’t know, I think we were relatively competitive last year, but we had not such a great race,” he said. “But given the car we had last year, I’m hoping the car has progressed quite a lot since last year.
“So hopefully, we are maybe a little bit closer than to the front. I’m hoping we can fight for a podium. I’ll find out tomorrow with everybody, but that’s the reality.”
He doesn’t believe the revised layout, Turns 16, 17, 18, and 19 have been removed and re-aligned into a long straight, will create much of a difference with the Briton saying fewer concerns could negate a Red Bull strength, but then a straight plays to that.
“It’ll make the lap easier, that’s for sure,” he said. “It gives less corners for Red Bull to be further ahead!
“It’s a short straight. So I don’t think anyone will have an advantage, particularly on it. Except for the Ferraris might be quick on the straight maybe, or the Red Bulls maybe?
“But I think it’s such a short straight, I don’t think it’s going to be a huge issue. And I mean, there’s generally nowhere that our car is favoured!
“And this is not a particular track that’s been a strong place for us in the past. But [compared with] last year, as I said, with this type of car, we tend to be a little bit quicker than we thought we were going to be. So maybe that I hope that’s the case this weekend.”