After a nail-biting end to the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton pointed to tyre degradation as the main factor in Mercedes being unable to pass Lando Norris in the McLaren and take victory at Marina Bay.
After Esteban Ocon brought out a virtual safety car with 17 laps to go, Hamilton and George Russell dived into the pits to fit new medium tyres with the front three of Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc all staying out on hard.
The Mercedes pair then took to closing the gap and at points were 1.6s a lap quicker. Although they made light work of Leclerc, some astute driving from Norris and Sainz allowed the pair to keep the top to spots on the podium with Russell then plowing into the barrier on the last lap.
“We needed to take the risk to have a shot at trying to get past some of these guys and going for the win,” Hamilton told the press after the race.
“I think we had really good pace. I think the team did a great job. George was in second at the time, and maybe if I was in this position, I probably would have stayed out and least kept McLaren behind.
“We gave it a shot and it was really fun to be hunting these guys down. It’s so difficult to overtake here you need like a 1.5s deficit to the car ahead.
“What was really surprising is that the hard hadn’t dropped off as much as we had thought, but also our tyres dropped off a lot in trying to catch up the huge gap that we were behind.”
Hamilton rues Qualifying performance
With Russell qualifying in second place, Hamilton could only manage fifth which put him behind both Ferraris and Lando Norris, as well as his teammate.
Then into Turn 1 at the start, Hamilton was forced off the track and moved third behind Charles Leclerc and Sainz, but had to hand the two positions he gained back.
“I think Carlos said he had really good pace,” Hamilton went on. “I can’t say that it would have been easier to have won today, but I think I think our call was very strong.
If I had qualified better, perhaps third or even on the front row with these guys, we would have been, of course, a better place and I think as a team, we would have been able to work better together.
But when you separate the cars a little bit more it makes it really hard to work against two other drivers from another team so I gotta do a better job there
“I’m really grateful for the hard work that everyone continues to do. Great pit stops from the from the lads in the the garage, and faultless in performance through the weekend and also with strategy and everything. So I think we we are progressing. We just got to keep working away.”