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Daniel Ricciardo lays down early marker in opening practice at Singapore

Daniel Ricciardo lays down early marker in opening practice at Singapore”

The Marina Bay track has proved to be somewhat of an Achilles heel for Mercedes in recent campaigns and the team have a real battle on their hands to stop the likes of Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen claiming the spoils this weekend.

Vettel, who trails Hamilton by three points in the title race, fended off the challenge from the rampant Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to seal the front spot by one-third of a second. A dominant weekend is what I am after.

- The F1 Silly Season continues to unfold with a number of seats still in flux.

All nine races held in Singapore to date have featured at least one safety car intervention, and the long and slow pit road always has to be factored into strategic decision making. The German, who has won the street race a record four times since its inception in 2008, will be sniffing blood after the disappointment of the previous two races where he finished second and third respectively.

"But in Singapore maybe Vettel will win and change things again". But none of that actually occurred, unsurprisingly...

Despite running out winners in Singapore last season - their second win in three years in the country - Mercedes know that the street track will suit the W08 much less than did Spa and Monza.

"We improved it from the morning".

Yet if it is Vettel on top, Lauda admits that his 'heart' still beats for the Maranello team.

"Identifying clearly our strengths and our weaknesses has been a strength of our team in recent seasons", Wolff said.

"It is a circuit that we have found difficult to master", Wolff said, as quoted by BBC Sport. Horner also intimated that he realized the importance of Red Bull not only making a good showing but actually being competitive at the #Singapore Grand Prix.

'Nevertheless we learned a lot from our struggles in Monaco, raised our level of performance significantly in Hungary and we have made good progress in understanding what we need to do in order to get the most from the chassis'.

The 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) circuit resembles the Monaco GP in terms of its sinewy layout: A low-speed, hard-braking track favoring maximum downforce and reducing the outright pace of Hamilton's Mercedes. Vettel expressed how he's not concerned about the difference in pace between the teams, and he emphasised the point that Mercedes should not hold such an advantage at any other track for the rest of the season. "I think every year we've come here it's been relatively difficult for us generally but we knew today would be tough".

Niki Lauda names Ferrari as the favourites to win this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was fifth on the day while it was a positive session for McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso, who were sixth and seventh. The first incident, they both luckily got away with, but Perez was the one who suffered more in the second, and recorded a DNF in the end.



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