SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - World champion Lewis Hamilton faces the prospect of losing his lead in the Formula One title race to Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg after the German qualified on pole for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday (Sept 17).
Hamilton will start third on the grid, also behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, and with the Marina Bay Street Circuit proving to be notoriously difficult for overtaking, the Briton's two-point lead may not survive Sunday's race.
Rosberg has seized the momentum in the title race since the sport's summer break, winning the last two races to eat into Hamilton's advantage in the standings and the German has been dominant in Singapore as his team mate has struggled.
"It's just not been my weekend so far. Just not really got many good laps out there and I've not been able to string them together, and that was the case today," Hamilton told reporters on Saturday.
"Nico did a great job and showed the true potential of the car. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can try and at least get one step up ahead to give that front row for the team."
The waters were muddied further for Hamilton in Friday practice when he was unable to complete his race simulation runs after his car suffered a hydraulics issue, giving the team just 10 laps of data to scour over ahead of the grand prix.
"Obviously, I didn't get to do long runs yesterday, so I'm not quite sure how the car will go," he added. "I think Nico did some running but our cars are set up a little bit different. I don't think we're in a bad position but I'll find out tomorrow for the first time."
Hamilton started the season slowly and despite erasing a 43-point deficit to his team mate by recording six wins in seven races, the Briton still believes he is playing catch up in the title race.
"I've kind of been on the back foot all year long so there's no real difference to me," he added.
"I'll do the best job I can from there and try and fight my way through. It's a very hard track to overtake so, you're usually stuck where you are but there's lots of safety cars at this race so lots can happen during the race."