Mercedes set ambitious Singapore target following Monza struggles

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 driver, makes a pitstop during the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 driver, makes a pitstop during the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin is “optimistic” the team will be able to bounce back in Singapore, after the W14 struggled at Monza last time out.

That would entail being in the hunt for the podium around Marina Bay, with the high-downforce layout playing into the strengths of the car while Lewis Hamilton dubbed the Italian Grand Prix the “worst race” for Mercedes’ characteristics this season.

Mercedes are without a podium in four races – their longest spell without a trophy this year – following Hamilton’s P3 placing at the British Grand Prix, with both drivers finishing fifth and sixth at the last round at Monza.

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Mercedes appeared to struggle in a straight line at Monza and both Hamilton and George Russell struggled with a lack of grip on track, but the ultra-low downforce settings of the Temple of Speed are being replaced with the maximum downforce surroundings of Singapore this weekend, where the W14 has tended to fare better this season.

Hamilton took pole position in Hungary in July, another high-downforce layout, and the team are hoping that a switch back to that configuration will help them at Marina Bay this weekend.

“We are certainly hoping!” Shovlin responded in Mercedes’ post-Monza debrief when asked if Singapore will suit the W14 more than in Italy.

“There is a reason to think that the car will work better and that is because Singapore is a maximum downforce circuit.

“Our performance at the high downforce tracks like at Barcelona, Budapest, and even Zandvoort the car was working well, and we’ve had pretty strong performance.

“We’re hoping to be able to be a bit quicker there and get back to a position where we can challenge for podiums.

“The track though does throw up some pretty unique challenges and we’ve also got some layout changes for this year. recommends

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“There is a sequence of four corners near the end of the lap that have been removed where the track used to go underneath a grandstand through a tunnel.

“That’s now gone so we’ve got a longer straight which will change a little bit how the tyres are working.

“There is a bit less energy there but it’s also an abrasive tarmac. We’ve got the softest three compounds so it’s a pretty tough race on the tyres and it’s also a bumpy street circuit.

“Added to that, the race is run at night. Plenty of challenges for us to try and tackle then but we are going there optimistic for a strong performance.”

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