Mercedes seeking reassurance at Suzuka

Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:17am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Mercedes go into Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix hoping to show that their baffling lack of pace in Singapore was just a one-off but Lewis Hamilton and team mate Nico Rosberg need some convincing.

"I don't have any confidence. I don't have any information to give me that confidence," world champion Hamilton told British reporters when asked how confident he was that Suzuka would be different.

"I'm hoping it's a one-off but it was a strange weekend to say the least.

"Our car has not got slower. I think some other people might have brought an upgrade package... but that doesn't explain it," added the Briton.

Eclipsed in qualifying after 11 poles in 12 races, Hamilton suffered his first retirement of the season in Singapore and saw his lead over Rosberg cut to 41 points with six rounds remaining.

On a tight and twisty circuit, the previously dominant Mercedes was a second and a half slower than Sebastian Vettel's winning Ferrari.

The heat and slow nature of the track may have played to rivals' strengths, but there will be worried faces among the championship leaders until at least Friday practice at Suzuka and possibly beyond.

The Japanese circuit is both fast and demanding, with the flat-out 130R curve a stand-out feature, and should be much more to Mercedes' liking. If Ferrari are quicker there too, then the fight is really on.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain retires from the Singapore F1 Grand Prix night race in Singapore September 20, 2015. REUTERS/Olivia Harris