Singapore GP: Lewis Hamilton targets F1 qualifying improvement after Mercedes victory near-miss
Lewis Hamilton says he "will not be satisfied" until he rediscovers the qualifying form he believes stopped him from putting together a complete front-running weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix after Mercedes' late race charge took him back to the podium.
The Mercedes driver moved into third place on Sunday's frenetic final lap after team-mate George Russell crashed, but Hamilton had been right on his team-mate's tail in position to profit from an errors after enjoying an improved race compared to qualifying when he was only fifth.
Reflecting on the weekend after Mercedes ended up so close to a first win of 2023, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: "It's all in hindsight but I think the thing I was most disappointing with...I mean George was so close to pole yesterday [Saturday].
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"I should have been on pole yesterday [Saturday].
"But then we had a good race. The race was kind of textbook. The team did a good job with strategy.
"I'm in my element in the race. It's just qualifying needs to get better. George was great all weekend."
Hamilton has been outqualified by Russell in all three races since the summer break, meaning the younger Englishman has edged back ahead in their Saturday head-to-head by eight to seven.
Asked how he get can back to top form over a single lap, Hamilton replied: "It's clearly not just the car. George was on the front row.
"It's me, just my driving style, changes that perhaps I'm making. It's a lot of different things, so I need to look into that.
"I will naturally keep my head down, keep pushing and will not be satisfied until I get back there."
But, overall, Hamilton said he was energised by how Mercedes had approached the race and attacked for the win by making a second stop for fresh tyres in Singapore.
"As a team, we risked it at the end and took the chance. I love that the team is doing that," he added.
Hamilton's first podium finish in five races moved him ahead of Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso for third place in the drivers' championship for the first time this season.
Having qualified on the front row, Hamilton's team-mate had been enjoying a particularly stellar weekend around the tight and demanding sweeps of Marina Bay and at one stage in the closing stages Russell looked like he would have a serious shot at overhauling Carlos Sainz for a last-gasp race victory.
His crash while chasing second-placed Lando Norris ultimately undid that hard work, but Hamilton was full of praise for his team-mate's efforts all weekend.
"We are all trying to be millimetre perfect out there and it's very, very easy to make mistakes. It's easy for any of us, being in the position George was in," said the seven-time champion in the post-race press conference.
"He had been driving phenomenal all weekend, so it was really unfortunate for him, last lap, to finish that way. But he continues to grow and improve.
"I know that he will keep getting stronger and faster… If there is any way I can help him be a part of that over the next couple of years.
"I have a lot of experience, I've been here a long time, putting together a race is, not that it's easy, but the race is where I'm most comfortable on track. It's just about keeping your head down.
"If you look at last year I made a mistake at Turn Seven and went off and crashed in the wall. It can happen to any of us. It's just one of those things."
Get ready to set those early alarms as Formula 1 now heads to Suzuka for the Japanese GP. Watch all sessions live on Sky Sports F1 from September 22-24. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW. Cancel anytime