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Mercedes optimistic Singapore Grand Prix layout will suit Lewis Hamilton and George Russell's 2023 F1 car

The Singapore GP will feature a new track layout this year, with four of the corners in the final sector removed; it is still a circuit that will suit cars which are strong with their high downforce package; watch every session from the Singapore GP live on Sky Sports F1

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff questions whether Max Verstappen would hold any importance to setting a new record of 10 consecutive Grand Prix wins

Mercedes are "optimistic" the track layout at the Singapore Grand Prix will suit their car as they look to bounce back into the podium fight.

Ferrari were the team closest to Red Bull last time out at Monza, while George Russell and Lewis Hamilton maximised the pace of their car to finish fifth and sixth.

Monza is almost a complete contrast to the streets of Singapore, which relies more on high downforce and mechanical grip.

"There is a reason to think that the car will work better and that is because Singapore is a maximum downforce circuit," explained Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.

"Our performance at the high downforce tracks like at Barcelona, Budapest, and even Zandvoort the car was working well, and we've had pretty strong performance.

"We're hoping to be able to be a bit quicker there and get back to a position where we can challenge for podiums. The track though does throw up some pretty unique challenges and we've also got some layout changes for this year. There is a sequence of four corners near the end of the lap that have been removed where the track used to go underneath a grandstand through a tunnel.

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Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, Nico Rosberg reveals the extreme physical challenge drivers face during a race weekend in Singapore

"That's now gone so we've got a longer straight which will change a little bit how the tyres are working. There is a bit less energy there but it's also an abrasive tarmac. We've got the softest three compounds so it's a pretty tough race on the tyres and it's also a bumpy street circuit.

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"Added to that, the race is run at night. Plenty of challenges for us to try and tackle then but we are going there optimistic for a strong performance."

Wolff: We should be careful with predictions

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner responds to Lewis Hamilton's claim that Max Verstappen has not had the challenge of racing against strong team-mates

Mercedes are second in the constructors' championship, 45 points ahead of Ferrari and 56 points in front of Aston Martin ahead of this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Russell have not featured on the podium since the British Grand Prix in mid-July, but have shown strong in Hungary and Zandvoort - tracks which rely less on straight line speed.

Team principal Toto Wolff says Mercedes are "making improvements" and is hoping to be on Red Bull's tail in Singapore.

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Lewis Hamilton says he was at fault for his collision with Oscar Piastri during the Italian Grand Prix and he went to apologise to the Australian after the race

"From last year into this year we need to be careful with our predictions. We could go 'high downforce, hurray, we'll be right behind Red Bull next week' but we don't know, that's the truth," he said.

"The teams from second to sixth can be pretty close together - that's us, Ferrari and McLaren and Aston Martin. But we are consistently scoring with two cars, we are solidly second in the championship, hopefully soon third in the drivers' championship with Lewis, so we are delivering the best possible job considering the car's lack of performance."

Sky Sports F1's live Singapore GP schedule

Friday 15 September
10am: Singapore GP Practice One (session starts at 10.30pm)
1.45pm: Singapore GP Practice Two (session starts at 2pm)
3.30pm: The F1 Show

Saturday 16 September
10.15am: Singapore GP Practice Three (session starts at 10.30am)
1pm: Singapore GP Qualifying build-up
2pm: Singapore GP Qualifying
3.45pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Sunday 17 September
11.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Singapore GP build-up
3pm: Chequered Flag: Singapore GP reaction
4pm: Ted's Notebook

Next up for the F1 circus are the stunning streets of Singapore under the lights. All sessions from the Singapore GP will be live on Sky Sports F1 from September 15-17. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW. Cancel anytime

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