• Slow driving, uneven surface creates problems for the drivers
• ‘It’s just ridiculous’ McLaren driver Hamilton complains
Lewis Hamilton tonight described the Marina Bay street track as “dangerous” after a combination of the slow driving surface and its unevenness created problems for the drivers.
Race organisers have modified the course by ironing out some of the bumps but Hamilton, who came a disappointing fifth in tonight’s second practice session, said: “I think they’ve made it worse. The chicane is the worst corner I have ever driven in Formula One. It’s just ridiculous. Last year it was small but now it’s even more dangerous. We saw one other car take off [Adrian Sutil’s Force India, which suffered damage to its front suspension].
“You approach that corner at 160-170mph and then you brake down. If something goes wrong, somebody’s brakes fail and you hit one of those kerbs then you are going to see a nasty accident.”
Jenson Button, who trailed only the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in the second session, said: “It doesn’t dry here very quickly and there’s a lot of water coming up through the circuit. It’s pretty tricky out there. Hopefully we won’t have any more rain this weekend because those conditions aren’t the nicest to drive in.”
Webber had been fastest in the earlier session, edging out Michael Schumacher. In the later session it was the turn of Vettel to dominate.
Button, who trails the championship leader, Webber, by 22 points, said he prefers it when he is not leading the field, as he was last year. The world champion said: “There’s pressure on the guys at the front. Most of the pressure is on Mark. I think he’s pretty good at handling it. For us guys further back … I’ve been in both positions now and for me being in this position is more exciting. Obviously you have less of a chance of winning the title. You have to be more aggressive.”
But Button says he cannot afford another failure to finish, which he suffered in Spa two races ago after a mistake by Vettel. Button added: “If you have a DNF [“Did not finish” in the classification] it’s very difficult to fight for the title. But if you’re not aggressive you’re never going to fight for the title. I’ve got to take a chance and go for it, and if you’re more aggressive it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to have a DNF. I’m 22 points behind. It’s got to be controlled aggression.”
After building up a good lead Button almost squandered his advantage last season. “We [Button’s then Brawn team] were too conservative, which was our biggest problem. We knew we didn’t have the quickest car but we knew we had to get points. I didn’t have to beat the other guys but I had to finish close to them. You have to be very careful changing your views and the way you go racing.”
Christian Klien will compete in his first grand prix for four years this weekend after stepping in for Hispania Racing’s Sakon Yamamoto. The Japanese driver has food poisoning.