Lewis Hamilton claims he would’ve sacrificed himself in George Russell’s position

Lewis Hamilton praised his team’s performance in Singapore after a challenging end to the races saw Mercedes narrowly miss out on a win.

Following a heart-pounding conclusion to the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton pinpointed tyre degradation as the primary factor preventing Mercedes from overtaking Lando Norris in the McLaren and securing a victory at the Marina Bay Circuit.

The turning point in the race occurred when Esteban Ocon triggered a virtual safety car with 17 laps remaining.

 Hamilton and George Russell seized the opportunity to pit and switch to new medium tyres, while the front-runners—Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, and Charles Leclerc—chose to remain on the hard compound.

Subsequently, the Mercedes duo embarked on a mission to close the gap, at times clocking lap times that were 1.6 seconds faster than their competitors. 

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

While they successfully overtook Leclerc, Norris and Sainz displayed astute driving to retain the top two positions on the podium. 

Unfortunately, Russell’s race took a dramatic turn as he collided with the barrier on the final lap.

Reflecting on the team’s strategy, Hamilton shared his perspective with the press, saying, “We needed to take the risk to have a shot at trying to get past some of these guys and going for the win. 

“I think we had really good pace. 

Article continues below

“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 at least kept McLaren behind.”

Hamilton continued to emphasise the challenge of overtaking at the Marina Bay Circuit, stating, “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.”

Despite George Russell’s second-place qualification, Hamilton could only secure fifth place, putting him behind both Ferraris and Lando Norris, as well as his teammate. 

The race’s start saw Hamilton forced off the track into Turn 1, dropping him to third place behind Charles Leclerc and Sainz. 

Hamilton adhered to race etiquette and surrendered the positions he had gained.

Assessing the team’s performance and strategy, Hamilton remarked, “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, in 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.”

Hamilton expressed his gratitude for the collective efforts of the team, praising their flawless pit stops and overall performance throughout the weekend. 

READ: Martin Brundle in hot water over incident with F1 driver

He concluded by acknowledging the need for continued progress, stating, “I’m really grateful for the hard work that everyone continues to do. 

“Great pit stops from the lads in the garage, and faultless performance through the weekend and also with strategy and everything. 

“So I think we are progressing. We just got to keep working away.”