Hamilton: Ferrari will have downforce advantage in Singapore

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton believes Ferrari will have an advantage over Mercedes in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix because they can generate more downforce.

Sebastian [Vettel] is going to be quicker in other races than coming up,” said Hamilton after taking his sixth win of the season at Monza.

“In Singapore they should generally be quicker than us because they can add more downforce. But maybe we can out-pace them in other ways.”

Hamilton’s Italian Grand Prix win gave him a three-point lead in the drivers’ championship. However he warned “it could easily” swing back the other way.

Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff is not just concerned about the threat from Ferrari this weekend.

“So far this year, we have seen the pendulum swing according to circuit type,” he said. “On the surface, Singapore is the kind of circuit that should favour both Ferrari and Red Bull.”

“Both have shown strong performance on low-speed circuits demanding maximum downforce, and we have found life more difficult at those places in 2017.”

However Wolff believes Mercedes has made progress with its set-up for high-downforce track such as Singapore. “We learned a lot from our struggles in Monaco, raised our level of performance significantly in Hungary and we have made good progress in understanding what we need to do in order to get the most from the chassis.” he said.

“This is a circuit we have found difficult to master,” Wolff admitted. “In 2015, Singapore provided us with one of the most painful experiences in recent seasons so we rolled up the sleeves, learned from it and managed to bounce back with a great win last year.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    42 comments on “Hamilton: Ferrari will have downforce advantage in Singapore”

    1. After this race, all the tracks seem pretty even as to which team will be better. Will be an interesting end to the season.

      1. It’s such a strange one to predict @hugh11 Mexico,USA,Malaysia and Abu Dhabi you’d expect Mercedes to have the advantage but the same was said about Spa and I think Ferrari had the stronger race car there. It was also closer than I expected in qualifying with Bottas being outqualified. The potential hotter conditions at those tracks could help Ferrari more too. I’d expect Mercedes to struggle in Singapore and Brazil but who knows. I had Spa down as a really strong Mercedes circuit but seeing how Ferrari performed there was a bit of a shock. A lot are downplaying Ferraris chances after Monza but that would be like downplaying Mercedes after Hungry. it’s still too early to tell and that’s what I love about this season. We’re also in the perfect time for grid drops and failures which could cause a huge swing either way. This feels like the first season I’m genuinely excited about in years.

        1. We’re already more than halfway past the season, I think we have enough evidence. IMO both cars are finely matched and it’s down to variables- tyres, track temps, weather, setup, driver form and even gearing ratios (like Spa with Ferrari). The only issue I think that may really swing it is the development war- ie upgrades.

        2. Not sure why people seem to regard Mexico as a low downforce circuit. Yes, it’s a high speed circuit, but the altitude means the air is so thin up there that the cars struggle to produce downforce. Despite it being such a high speed circuit, all the teams will need to bring their highest downforce package there in order to have enough downforce for the twisty sections. Ferrari seem to have the most downforce, but it also seems to come at the expense of higher drag than RBR and Merc. The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez’ high altitude should actually play into Ferrari’s hands, not Merc’s.

          1. Low downforce is exactly what you need at high speed! Depends where ferrari will need it though, in monza, everyone brought lowest downforce package, and ferrari seemed lost! If they cant get speed/downforce balance, anyone can loose… we have seen in mercedes when they were most dominant, they were terrible when they couldnt set up properly

      2. Is it really evenly matched though? Spa showed us what Merc have to do from here on out… Outqualify the Ferrari and keep them in the dirty air all race long and overtaking is almost impossible between cars with almost similar race pace.

        That Merc quali engine mode is what might win them both championships this season. Unless Ferrari can get one on their next engine update.

        Of course reliability will still play a big factor in the way the title goes but if that remains constant for both the Mercs and Ferrari… Quali is what might decide this championship.

        1. The 1,2Liter advantage the Merc engine has over all the newly introduced (0,9L) engines after Monza will help al lot.
          With these engine they can finish the season and it keeps the quali setting advantage fully intact.

          1. @seth-space, I wouldn’t say that it is so much of a question of Mercedes gaining an advantage as much as Ferrari losing their special qualifying mode following the instruction by the FIA earlier in the year to them to remove the secondary oil tank fitted to their car and the ban on using multiple oil mixtures (suspicions being raised given that the oil in Ferrari’s secondary tank had a different composition to the first tank).

            As soon as the FIA gave their instruction to Ferrari to remove the secondary oil tank, Ferrari’s relative qualifying pace noticeably dropped off after that, not just in relation to Mercedes but also in relation to the rest of the pack. That suggests to me that the whole debate over the 1.2L/100km or 0.9L/100km limits is missing the point, because Ferrari have already lost the advantage that they had gained in qualifying through their interpretation of the oil consumption limits.

    2. Yep they will. They’ve had it all year it’s just that on most tracks, your engine means it’s irrelevant.

    3. Mercedes have the stronger car, they are just playing with Ferrari this year and giving them false hope, if they want they can destroy them all the time as they did in Monza but doing that every race week-end is not good for F1.

      1. @t3x

        Teams don’t leave performance on the table unless they are comfortably out front. No team or driver can afford to concede a single point because all it takes is one DNF, grid penalty, or first lap incident to take a huge chunk of points from any driver.

        When Mercedes can, they have always taken every result they can. They had no qualms chasing every available win between 2014 to 2016. It’s ridiculous to suggest Mercedes are sandbagging.

        They have a qualifying advantage, but in the races, it’s been very balanced between Ferrari and Mercedes. I’m not sure of any races Ferrari have won where Mercedes has been the faster race car, but Mercedes has managed to steal a few results where the Ferrari appeared to have better race pace.

        1. Spain is the best example. Vettel lost pole cuz of a bad final sector, then lost the race cuz of a VSC.

      2. @t3x I think it’s Mercedes brilliant mind games, first they claimed Ferrari were being helped by Pirelli, secondly they said Raikkonen was always under team orders and now they are pilling on the pressure and removing any expectations on their behalf.
        I think Ferrari have had a strong car and a stronger car in many occasions but they can’t execute their weekends like Mercedes and Hamilton. Shanghai is a good example, Spain is a good example, Silverstone they were nowhere.

    4. Cue the tifosi proclaiming that Mercedes still have the edge at Singapore and that only Vettel’s godlike skills behind the wheel will claim a win. 😂

      1. They go well with the fans that claim the same about Hamilton.

        1. HAN is not godlike.. he is God.

      2. I’d have thought the tifosi would actually be saying their car is wonderful and amazing, and better than the Mercedes. A supporter of the team would surely be giving the team the most credit.

        Vettel fans would be the ones saying the Mercedes is better.


        1. @neilosjames we have a real lack of tifosi on here then, you’re right.

      3. @offdutyrockstar That’s a super defensive move, that’s like reverse psychology, we use to say that of Lewis. Anyway Mercedes won in Singapore last year, their car hasn’t performed at all well in tracks like Monaco and Hungary but it was close.

        1. @peartree I’m moving around in the braking zone and i’m not even sorry. 😜

    5. Considering they said all season their car is second best and the lead const. and drivers championship i wouldn´t underestimate them… i think reliability will be the deciding factor after all.

    6. Yes, Ferrari will have the downforce advantage in Singapore but I don’t see them winning by over 30s margin with power turned off halfway through the race.
      He forgot that Bottas was 0.045s off the pole and just 0.002s off the front row in Monaco. He was also 0.086s off the front row and 0.254s off the pole in Hungaroring.
      If there is something wrong with the low downforce circuits this year in Mercedes then it has to be Lewis.
      Nice try but keep telling that to yourself :)

        1. An article that refers to the relative pace of the Mercedes and Ferrari… a hot-tempered @corrado-dub right on cue :’) Calling others “desilusional”? I think @offdutyrockstar ‘s post was predominantly a tongue-in cheek reference to how Mercedes/Ferrari and their respective fan-bases have been consistently bigging up each other’s performance throughout the season. Hmmm… I see that reply of yours has been just taken down, funny that.

          1. @ninjenius you sir, you understand.

      1. “Power turned off halfway through the race” @tifoso1989989 – that’s proven to be a false assumption if you look at the speed trap data. Mercedes have been “on it” in every race. Don’t believe what you hear in post race interviews or team radio, that’s just mind games. Of course Mercedes don’t want Ferrari to know how close they are. Having said that, Ferrari are still not on top of it.

    7. Yes, and Mercedes will have an engine advantage. Now shut up and race!

      1. So you come here to rad what teams and drivers have to say just so you can tell them to shut up. Brilliant.

        1. @patrickl
          He’s taking after you then.

    8. Ferrari lost more opportunities than Mercedes this year, that is clear.
      Vettel could have set at least another 3 poles and 2 wins, both of which were lost to Hamilton, China (tried his luck on the VSC and it backfired) and Spain. And let’s not forget about Russia. He didn’t lost to Mercedes there, he lost to Bottas.

      So i think he’s been too lucky this year. The car is the best Ferrari has developed since 2008.

    9. Stereotypical comments section:

      A) the ferrari is always worse than the mercedes which has an engine from heaven. It’s only Vettel’s fantastic racing that makes the ferrari win. Hamilton crybaby loser. Vettel is a true sportsman.

      B) The mercedes is always worse than the ferrari which has the best downforce. It’s only Hamilton’s fantastic racing that keeps mercedes in the game. He is a true sportsman. Vettel loser cheater crybaby.

      I’m pretty sure the fact that this championship has been so evenly matched is because both drivers and teams are equally impressive on different circuits.

      1. So it’s time for RBR then ;)

        1. Or soon?

            1. Cool, now find a Red Bull – Honda picture.

      2. +1

        *slow clap*

    10. I feel Merc have edged away after the summer break. I appreciate the tracks were much more suited to them but I think they’ve got to grips with the sensitivities of their car. This weekend is crucial for Ferrari, if Seb can’t win at Singapore things are looking ominous.

    11. Has James Allison been a bit disappointing not bringing updates fast enough to the car? From Day 1 we have heard the “we are understanding the car better” mantra from Mercedes. Sure, understanding how to setup the car better has helped. There might be small updates under the skin. But we have not see anything by way of major updates on the W08 this season.
      From the start of the season, Merc knew tracks like Hungary and Singapore were going to be a problem. Botta says a high downforce package is coming, but not quick enough to make it for the Singapare GP. Why would you not get the package in fast enough for a GP you knew would be your weakest race? Ferrari brought in some major updates for Spa. If the 4th engine they bring in after Singapore offers them better performance, then they will get ahead.
      Allison showed during his Ferrari stint that he was very slow in bringing updates and moving things along in-season. That was probably what caused problems with Marchionne. If Merc do not win both championships, questions will be asked of Allison’s role and lack of in-season development.

      1. IndianF1, what do you mean by “no major updates”? There was, after all, a pretty sizeable update in the Spanish GP with major changes to the front crash structure and sidepod aero package, and in reality there has been a fairly steady stream of incremental updates if you look at those sites which track the technical aspects of the sport.

        1. The Mercedes to my eyes is the 2nd most visibly evovled car in the field. Number 1 being the Red Bull, so I have to disagree with your assessment there IndianF1.

          1. *evolved

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