Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team have admitted they are not the favourites to win Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix after being off the pace at the street circuit last year.
Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg were inferior to both the Red Bulls and Ferraris at the Marina Bay track in 2015.
Hamilton failed to finish after suffering mechanical gremlins, while Rosberg could cross the line only in fourth, 25 seconds behind race winner Sebastian Vettel.
Mercedes, who have dominated Formula One for nearly three years, hope they will be in a stronger position this year, but this week’s race is set to mark the first of the campaign in which they may not be the frontrunners.
“We go to Singapore with a big challenge ahead of us,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
“No team has ever scored a 1-2 finish there — and with good reason.
“As we have seen before, it’s a race where a single problem can cascade into many more as the weekend progresses.”
Hamilton and Rosberg are separated by only two points in the race for the title after the world champion’s poor start in Italy gift-wrapped victory to his sole championship rival.
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