Formula 1 world championship leader Lewis Hamilton says he will take an “aggressive” approach into the Singapore Grand Prix as he looks set to battle the Ferrari duo for victory.

Hamilton holds a 63-point lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas but has failed to win since the summer break, with Charles Leclerc recording back-to-back victories at Spa and Monza.

The Briton conceded the title fight was playing on his mind when he backed out of a challenge for the lead against Leclerc in Italy but warned there would not be a repeat in Singapore after being pipped to pole position by the Ferrari driver.

“I don’t know where Ferrari picked up their pace as this is potentially not one of their tracks, but they did a great job,” Hamilton said after qualifying.

“Charles obviously put some great laps in and it really needed something special at the end so I gave it absolutely everything I had.

“It was very, very close to the wall a couple of times but it was as much as I could get out of the car and I’m very, very happy to be on the front row in the mix with them so we can try to divide them.

“I think tomorrow we can be aggressive.”

Bottas said an unplanned move by Hamilton in the closing stages of qualifying hurt his preparation for his final Q3 run as he was left to settle for fifth on the grid, behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

While overtaking at Singapore’s tight and twisty Marina Bay Street Circuit is notoriously difficult, the Finn is remaining upbeat about his chances of progressing on Sunday.

“On paper if you look at this race, if there aren’t many things happening, it could be a tough day, a long day, but you never know,” he said.

“We’ve seen exciting starts here, we’ve seen lots of Safety Cars and things. Within the top three teams there are no huge differences in race pace and if there are some differences they’re not going to be enough for overtaking.

“The strategy, maximising opportunities, if there are some, if something happens, it’s my best bet. I need to close within a good gap to the cars ahead and see what’s going to happen.

“Keeping the tyres in good nick and use them when needed. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”



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