June 21, 2018

Singapore pole stuns Vettel

17 September 2017, 07:53 | Devin Moran

Formula One: Vettel on pole in Singapore, Hamilton fifth

Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, who topped the Friday practice sessions, was the third fastest with 1:39.840.

Sebastian Vettel, who trails Hamilton by three points in the championship, fended off the challenge from the rampant Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to seal the front spot here at the Marina Bay circuit by one-third of a second.

There was a flurry of activity when the session was restarted, with Vettel setting the fastest first and second sectors to go quickest with a 1m41.901s, 0.348s quicker than Verstappen.

Heading to Singapore, Mercedes and Hamilton played down the team's chances on a circuit that suits the likes of Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.

"I think all in all the whole weekend was good progression, getting better and better".

"I still believe we can win - I'm still confident we'll get victory", said Ricciardo, who has finished on the podium in the last three straight races in Singapore and came within half a second of victory past year.

"But I have lots of friends, I have met along the way a lot of people, and every single person I have met who has gone vegan says it is the best decision they have ever made".

"You might have to carry us out of the cars tomorrow but I'm sure I'll have a very strong race and get some big points".

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

The tight-turning Marina bay circuit rewards driver bravery over horsepower and Ricciardo has been sweating it out in preparation for the race, which can see temperatures inside the vehicle soar to 55 degrees and drivers lose three kilograms of fluid in sweat.

But aside from the dominant Red Bulls, Hamilton was half-a-second clear of his fourth-placed Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

A beaming Ricciardo said after practice: "This is pretty expected, I'm not surprised, this is the way I wanted to start the weekend, but nothing is guaranteed".

"This year I stopped eating chicken and then kind of went back to it and now I've stopped again".

"It is a shame we couldn't put it on pole", Verstappen added.

"I got everything I could out of the vehicle, everything and more", he added.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was "best of the rest" in P7, ahead of the McLaren Honda's of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. "But we'll see what happens".

"I'm happy that we got the auto where it deserved to be and then we can take it from there". Carlos Sainz rounded out the top-ten for Toro Rosso. The second Haas of Kevin Magnussen was in 16th, followed by the two Williams of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll.

Eliminated in Q2 were Palmer, Perez, Kvyat, Ocon and Grosjean.

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