Hamilton at a loss to explain Mercedes deficit

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Mercedes' lackluster pace around the Marina Bay harbour extended into qualifying this evening, with the German squad eclipsed under the Singapore floodlights and Lewis Hamilton a full 1.5 seconds off pole.

The world championship leader was at a loss to explain his team's sudden performance deficit although he pointed to his car's working relationship with its tyres as the main culprit.

"I don't know where we've really gone wrong," said a discontented Hamilton.

"For some reason the tyres just aren't working on the car. It's so weird, we heat them up the same as everyone else, do our warm-up lap, and finish our lap with what we believe is an ok level of grip and then we see someone else 1.5s up the road."

While it's highly improbable that Mercedes' deficiency will be solved overnight, Hamilton is still holding on to hopes of a podium finish or indeed even a race win tomorrow if circumstances play out in Mercedes' favour.

"The goal is to still win the race but it's very hard to overtake here," he acknowledged.

"The others, and in particular the Red Bulls, are incredibly quick on the long runs. It is what it is, we'll fight as hard as we can although I doubt we'll find something between now and tomorrow. But if we do, great !"

AS IT HAPPENED: Singapore Grand Prix qualifying

Chris Medland's Singapore Grand Prix preview

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