Confident Ricciardo expects to stay on top

Mat Coch

Saturday 16th September, 2017 - 1:00am

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Daniel Ricciardo

A confident Daniel Ricciardo believes the pace displayed during practice for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix can be maintained heading into qualifying and the race.

The Australian topped both practice sessions on Friday, and headed team-mate Max Verstappen by more than half a second in Practice 2.

Importantly, the pair were both clear of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, who was next best in third but more than seven tenths away from Ricciardo’s pace.

“I expected this to be honest – I knew we’d come here with a good car,” Ricciardo said.

“I feel prepared, so I’m not surprised with our performance today. It’s important obviously that we keep that tomorrow but I have a lot of faith we can stay here all weekend.”

While Ricciardo was on top, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was just 11th in Practice 2 after setting the second-best time in the opening 90-minute session.

The German’s best lap was compromised by traffic, but with Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari just ninth fastest in Practice 2, the Italian squad appeared to lose its way as the day wore on.

However, Ricciardo believes Vettel and Raikkonen will improve before qualifying, though not enough to challenge his position at the top of the timesheets.

“Seb was there this morning, so I think they’ll get it together,” he reasoned of Ferrari’s apparent lack of performance in Practice 2.

“I don’t know what program they were on this afternoon but I’m sure it will tighten up tomorrow. I still expect we’ll be able to stay where we are.”

Ricciardo heads into qualifying with an exceptional record around the Marina Bay street circuit, having stood on the podium for the last three years, and has not qualified outside of the top three in that time.

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