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Sport Hamilton: 'Painful' missing out on win

05:15  23 september  2019
05:15  23 september  2019 Source:   skysports.com

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Lewis Hamilton believes he could have "easily won " the Singapore GP if Mercedes took a "risk" with "It's painful for us because we could have easily won today," says Hamilton , who Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton felt the team got their strategy wrong and missed the opportunity to take victory in Singapore.

The Singapore GP race report as Vettel wins Leclerc questions 'unfair' strategy Hamilton : ' Painful ' missing out on win . Team boss Mattia Binotto explained why Leclerc was not pitted first. "Verstappen was ready to stop so we had to protect his [Sebastian's] position," Binotto told Sky Sports F1.

a man looking at the camera © Getty

Lewis Hamilton believes he could have "easily won" the Singapore GP if Mercedes took a "risk" with their strategy - and has suggested that the in-form Ferrari are currently "hungrier" than the championship leaders.

Hamilton only finished fourth on Sunday despite appearing to have the pace to challenge the Ferraris from second on the grid.

Critical to Hamilton's disappointing race was Mercedes' decision not to pit him earlier - ignoring his calls to "undercut" Charles Leclerc as he closed up behind the pole-sitting Ferrari - and the Englishman emerged behind Sebastian Vettel, Leclerc and Max Verstappen after he stopped on Lap 27.

Lewis Hamilton "down for hard racing" ahead of Singapore Grand Prix

  Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton has warned he is "down for hard racing" following an incident with Charles Leclerc in Monza two weeks ago. Leclerc almost collided with Hamilton as the current world champion tried to overtake and Hamilton has said he is ready to battle for victory in Singapore. The Brit explained: “I look forward. There’s nothing I can do about the past. I’m down for hard racing.” Ferrari driver Leclerc received a warning for the incident at the Italian Grand Prix and, following the conclusion of the race, Hamilton admitted he would be willing to change his style of driving as long as there are clear rules and punishments.

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"I knew that we should have undercut," Hamilton told Sky F1 after the race.

"I kind of knew it this morning as well in the brief. I was like, 'let's just take the risk'. But they didn't.

Formula One F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - September 22, 2019  Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in action during the race  REUTERS/Thomas Peter © Thomson Reuters Formula One F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - September 22, 2019 Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in action during the race REUTERS/Thomas Peter

"But we win and we lose together as a team and we all take this on our chin. It's painful for us because we could have easily won today but it just didn't work out."

Hamilton wasn't the only driver who questioned his team's strategy: Leclerc was also unhappy with Ferrari after Vettel jumped two cars with his early stop - going on to win the race.

Leclerc sets surprise Ferrari pace

  Leclerc sets surprise Ferrari pace Charles Leclerc unexpectedly set the pace for Ferrari in the final practice session at the Singapore GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton.Although Leclerc has won the past two races, the slow-speed nature of the Marina Bay street circuit has not been expected to suit their car and Friday's timesheet - when they finished 0.8s off Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen's pace - appeared to underline such theories.

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It was a first one-two of the season for Ferrari, who are gathering momentum after three consecutive race victories. And the latest at a track where they expected to struggle.

Formula One F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - September 21, 2019  Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during qualifying    REUTERS/Tim Chong © Thomson Reuters Formula One F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - September 21, 2019 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during qualifying REUTERS/Tim Chong Although Hamilton has a healthy 65-point lead in the championship, and while Mercedes are 133 points ahead of Ferrari, he is concerned about the current trend.

"It feels like they [Ferrari] are hungrier at the moment," added Hamilton.

"So we've got to step it up. We've got the ability, we're still the best team but we've just got to stop dragging our feet and get on. We'll re-huddle and come back fighting in the next race."

Why didn't Mercedes pit Hamilton earlier?

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted the team did consider bringing Hamilton in before Vettel and particularly Leclerc, but said Ferrari got their strategy spot on.

Hamilton shocked by Ferrari surge

  Hamilton shocked by Ferrari surge Lewis Hamilton admitted he did not know where Ferrari suddenly found their Singapore GP pace after being beaten to pole.F1's world champion will start between polesitter Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel at the head of the grid for Sunday's race after a thrilling qualifying session in which Ferrari belied pre-weekend expectations that the battle for honours on the street track would be between Mercedes and Red Bull.

Axel Witsel gave Dortmund an early lead after being picked out by Thorgan Hazard in the 11th minute. Both teams maintained a furious pace but Frankfurt gradually gained the ascendency and Andre Silva duly equalized. Hamilton : ' Painful ' missing out on win .

Antonio Rudiger remains a doubt after missing out on Chelsea's defeat by Valencia in midweek, and had a scan on Friday Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette remains ruled out with an ankle injury. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are involved in the Gunners' 6. Hamilton : ' Painful ' missing out on win .

"We discussed the undercut but there was the risk of being caught in traffic," Wolff explained. "They did it right, they had nothing to lose and I think everybody was surprised by how strong the undercut was."

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 22: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP prepares to drive on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 22, 2019 in Singapore. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) © 2019 Getty Images SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 22: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP prepares to drive on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 22, 2019 in Singapore. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) More of a worry to Wolff is the fact Mercedes struggled to keep up with Ferrari in Singapore, while the Scuderia now appear to be a very real threat for the rest of the season.

"Once we got going we had a fast car," he explained. "But out of the blocks, and after every restart, we are lacking pace and that's the harsh reality.

"You've got to be worried and on your toes all the time. Ferrari have won the last three races and we cannot rest on our laurels from the beginning of the season and a solid points gap because that can catch you out."

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