Vettel fails to keep up with Hamilton

Vettel fails to keep up with Hamilton

Australian Daniel Ricciardo duly put the team in the frame for victory by topping Friday's opening practice session.

He admitted that he had hit a wall with his right rear wheel, but after one of the great qualifying laps of the season Sebastian Vettel's vehicle bore the scars of contact on both sides as testimony to just how hard he had to wring his red race car's neck in search of the pace to rein in Max Verstappen's Red Bull.

The Singapore Grand Prix 2017 kicked off under the floodlights at the Marina Bay street circuit.

Verstappen, having topped practice three, was the fastest in the first two sessions of qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo lapped seven tenths clear of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes in Friday practice at Marina Bay, while Raikkonen was almost two seconds adrift in the best of the Ferraris.

"Seb turned it on today but I think we have better race pace".

Qualifying also is just constant improvement, even though the whole weekend we were a bit down on power, I don't know why we couldn't really solve it. It was Red Bull fastest though, with Ricciardo leading Vettel and then Verstappen.

Vettel has won four of the nine Singapore races so far, and he has another Red Bull driver to beat, if he wants to add to that glowing record. "Red Bull seem like they're very strong and they're thereabouts with Ferrari, so we've got some work to do, but nothing is out of reach".

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"And by letting people who are following me know, maybe that will encourage a couple of people to do the same thing".

The Red Bulls headed out in a bid to respond, with Verstappen reclaiming top spot by just a fraction of a second. Coming into Q3, both drivers were very quick around the 1st and 2nd sectors raising suspicions as to whether the Italian team were sandbagging.

McLaren impressed with Fernando Alonso in fourth and Stoffel Vandoorne fifth. You gain a bit, you lose a bit - you kind of say I could've got more there but I think the gap was, in the end, three four tenths. "During the race it will be pretty hard to pass him, so we will have to see on the first lap".

"I'd take the fourth place because if you look until before qualifying, it could have been awfully more worse".

"Yeah, I still believe [Red Bull can win]", said Ricciardo, who qualified third.

Jolyon Palmer's future in the sport was cast in doubt here after it was confirmed that Carlos Sainz will replace him at Renault next season.

The drivers eliminated in first session were Kevin Magnussen, Massa, Stroll, Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.

Force India were eliminated in Q2 with Sergio Perez finishing 12th fastest after complaining about his tyres.

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