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Hamilton critical of F1 teams for blocking last-minute DRS change in Singapore

Lewis Hamilton has criticised the four Formula 1 teams that blocked a last-minute effort by the FIA to add an extra DRS zone to the Singapore circuit.

 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

The subject of a DRS zone in the new section of track, where a longer straight has temporarily replaced four corners, first emerged in the summer.

The matter was complicated by a kink early in the straight, the crown on the road, and the bumpy nature of the circuit, all factors that meant adding a DRS zone was not an automatic decision.

In June, the FIA asked teams for their feedback from simulations. The problem was that at that point they were focussing on the upcoming July races and those immediately after the summer break, and Singapore wasn't necessarily a priority for sim departments.

Sources say that three teams said no to the new zone, two were neutral or had no firm opinion, and five didn't reply, and thus it was decided not to proceed with the extra zone.

However, when race drivers began to sample the new section of track on team simulators in the build-up to the Singapore GP, many of them questioned why there was no DRS zone, sentiments they expressed on arrival at the track.

On Thursday evening the GPDA wrote a letter to the FIA stating that they unanimously supported the addition of an extra zone.

In the wake of the growing debate, the subject was discussed at the team managers' meeting early on Friday.

The FIA then asked for a vote of teams, despite the logistical issues related to adding a zone at the last minute, such as reprogramming car ECUs and resurveying and adding a loop to the track.

Unanimity was required for a change, but four teams responded by saying that they didn't want the extra zone.

 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

The subject was raised again in the drivers' briefing after the cars ran on Friday, with GPDA director George Russell among those saying that the extra DRS zone would have been an improvement while accepting that it was too late for any change to be made.

Lewis Hamilton was particularly disappointed by the lack of the zone, suggesting that teams had made racing more difficult.

"I think we need DRS in that new last section, which all the drivers requested from the FIA," said Hamilton. "And the FIA asked all the teams and there were a couple of teams that turned it down

"The teams should be for more racing, not against it. And it's interesting to have few teams that are against it."

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Valtteri Bottas suggested that the zone could have started later on the straight.

"I think it should be there," said the Finn. "The worst case straight after the kink. I think it would be a great opportunity to make this a bit more interesting race to watch. I think all the drivers were wanting that change."

Nico Hulkenberg downplayed any safety concerns about the kink.

"There would be no problem with DRS, at that speed already there's so much downforce on the rear there," said the Haas driver. "I don't think from my point of view that there would have been a safety concern.

"Some drivers were asking for it, but it was a bit too late. You only really know after the race, it might be also that if you do it it might be way too easy to overtake. We don't really know until we race here. So I guess we do it like this now, and then review for next year."

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