Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both expect Mercedes to be much more competitive in Singapore after finishing fifth and sixth in the 2023 Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton took more ground back in his battle with Fernando Alonso for third place in the drivers’ championship, while Russell finished as the lead Mercedes for the first time since the Miami GP.
However, the team were never in the podium fight and they’ll hope to make amends on that at the Marina Bay Circuit.
“I feel like this might be the worst of it, this might be the worst race for us,” Hamilton told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com, at the Italian GP. “Singapore is high-downforce so when we’ve got our high-downforce wing on we generally are a little bit better. I hope I’m right.”
Hamilton has been in a slow-motion chase of Alonso from the Spanish GP, and has finished ahead of the Aston Martin driver in all but three races since then.
Singapore could be the race he finally hoists himself into the top three. However, the AMR23 is just as likely to go well there, so that’s certainly no guarantee.
“Singapore should hopefully be a different story,” Russell added. “I suspect we’ll be more competitive, especially in the race, than we were this weekend.”
Russell: Mercedes still in the dark over setup gap
Russell extended his Mercedes contract until the end of 2025 over the summer break, but has openly admitted to struggling this season and his confidence in the W14 had dropped ahead of finishing 17th at Zandvoort.
However, he looked much better at Monza, holding Sergio Perez‘s much faster Red Bull off for a surprising number of laps before settling into a quiet drive to fifth. And if Russell can replicate that form in Singapore he could be on for his first podium of the season.
“We need to understand why we have such a delta between our higher and lower down force package,” Russell said. “We always seem to struggle at circuits like Spa, Monza, Baku, Austria even on the medium-low downforce setting and we always seem to be quick on the higher side.
“So there are some characteristic differences in our high and low downforce packages. We need to understand that and recognise what it is that’s making us more competitive, at least on the stopwatch between the two”