Vettel to edge Hamilton in Singapore, say bookies

Max Verstappen qualified second for the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix. Credit Mark Thompson  Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel on Thursday warned he was in for a close fight with Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes at the Singapore Grand Prix, despite his peerless record and Ferrari's supposed superiority at the night race.

The anticipated temperatures in Singapore reaching 86 degrees Fahrenheit with 86% of humidity at the time of the race.

"In 2015, Singapore provided us with one of the most painful experiences in recent seasons, so we rolled up the sleeves, learned from it and managed to bounce back with a great win previous year".

"I go with what we have, what I will feel tomorrow at the track and the auto that I have then under me", said Vettel.

"I was very lucky I could continue".

Daniel Ricciardo admits he is targeting "a dominant weekend" at the Singapore Grand Prix after setting the fastest time in each of Friday's two practice sessions.

The 32-year-old Briton, who had cut a sweaty and restless figure in Singapore's humidity, paused before breaking into a cheeky smile.

As we have seen throughout this calendar, there can be no questions over the Finn's commitment to the cause, whereas across the paddock, Kimi Raikkonen has shown signs of frustration in being forced to tow the party line.

Ricciardo, a victor in Azerbaijan in June, also remained confident. All the same, I believe in this team and thats why, when I was on the podium, I told the fans that we were on our way! I know the challenge tomorrow.

There were few smiles at Mercedes, with the champions arriving in Singapore fearing it would be a tough weekend but secretly hoping for better.

"It is a circuit that we have found hard to master", Wolff said, as quoted by BBC Sport. "There seems to be a certain pattern that some cars go better on the slow, twisty stuff".

Honda are expected to remain in the sport and team up with Red Bull's sister outfit Toro Rosso, while Carlos Sainz is likely to join Renault as a sweetener for the French manufacturer.

Hamilton, who took a record 69th career pole at Monza by a huge margin, never looked in contention.

"It's exciting and it's pretty cool we are now in the lead, and we will try to stay there", said Hamilton. "I definitely didn't anticipate Ferrari would be as strong as they were".

"We were obviously close with the field today and we have still got some improvements to make with the auto", he added.

Elsewhere, Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Renault, while McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne finished sixth ahead of his team-mate Fernando Alonso.

As part of the multi-faceted deal, highly rated Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz was loaned to the Renault team for 2018, elbowing out British pilot Jolyon Palmer.



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