Hamilton chasing a hat-trick in Singapore

Hamilton chasing a hat-trick in Singapore

Hamilton chasing a hat-trick in Singapore

"If I show a good performance, there will be no problem and we can have a long future together". "Whatever happens along the way happens". With Verstappen and Ricciardo both recently telling ESPN their long-term futures at Red Bull hinge around its ability to deliver a race-winning auto, and with Verstappen growing increasingly frustrated at his remarkable string of bad luck this year, a morale-boosting win for the team would be huge going into the final races of 2017.

According to Wolff, the Singapore Grand Prix is tough on the whole team, whether that be handling the heat, the strategy calls, or the physical and mental demands of driving the vehicle, everyone has to be on song, for the weekend to be a success.

"Nevertheless, I still expect it to be a more hard weekend for us than Monza, Spa or Silverstone because of those characteristics".

He told Autosport: "I still believe there are certain characteristics of the tracks that suit the auto or not, and you can see this year the slow, twisty circuits have rather suited Red Bull and Ferrari".

Mercedes once again reclaimed top spot when they put on the ultrasoft tyres, with Hamilton edging Verstappen for top spot. As well as his wins in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 in Singapore, Vettel drove brilliantly from the back of the grid past year to finish fifth.

Race lap record: Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull, 2016.

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Hamilton also expects a closer battle.

Having been rewarded with an extended one-year deal for next season this past week, the Finn will play an important part at Marina Bay in what for Mercedes will need to a team-driven effort more than any stage of this season. "It's about understanding the auto and the more we clock mileage the more we learn about it". But the reigning champions endured an uncharacteristically off-colour weekend in 2015, when Vettel won for Ferrari instead. "On the surface, Singapore is the kind of circuit that should favour both Ferrari and Red Bull", said Wolff here Wednesday. They locked out the front row and then claimed a comfortable race-day one-two, with Mercedes also beaten by Red Bull into fourth.

McLaren has consistently proclaimed it has one of the best chassis on the grid, something it has declared repeatedly during its struggles with Honda's underpowered engine.

"I've started second and finished second at this track in the last two years, with fastest lap both times", he said. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, though, the four-time champion was refusing to buy into the hype. "As I said many times whatever I do next year is because I want to win".

"I should start sooner than later to finish ahead of them, as the season end is coming closer", he said. And, being a circuit in the heart of a city, the barrier-lined Marina Bay layout is one such venue where Ferrari - and, in an added complication for Mercedes, Red Bull - ought to thrive.

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