Verstappen misses chance to become F1's first teenager on pole

BAD INTENTIONS Hamilton is distinctly second favourite at Marina Bay street circuit but an unexpected victory for the Mercedes driver would set alarm bells ringing at Ferrari

BAD INTENTIONS Hamilton is distinctly second favourite at Marina Bay street circuit but an unexpected victory for the Mercedes driver would set alarm bells ringing at Ferrari

It is nearly time for the fourteenth round of the Formula 1 World Championship to get underway and the Scuderia Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are already fully focused on the tenth running of the Singapore Grand Prix. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton moved ahead of the German for the first time this season with victory in Italy.

Vettel has led 221 laps in Singapore to Hamilton's 135. It's unusual, from race to race it's a little bit different between us.

Away from the track, Hamilton, 32, has also revealed this weekend that he will be adapting his diet after watching the pro-vegan Netflix film "What the Health".

"I think overall we wanted more grip but that's the normal story".

"For my part I know I have to perform but it's always been like that in my career. They're rapid through the medium and low speed sections of the circuits".

Valtteri Bottas has said that he is comfortable with his new one-year Mercedes contract. The Italian team, now 62 points behind Mercedes in the team standings, have been dominant this year at similar venues like Monaco and Hungary, scoring one-two finishes at both.

However, Vettel, who is the most successful F1 driver at the Singapore GP with four wins, insists it will still be a close fight for the top of the podium, and refused to rule Mercedes out of the running for the chequered flag.

Mercedes have been on pole in 66 of the last 71 races.

"We've certainly got stronger and stronger", the 28-year-old told reporters Friday.

"We knew coming here it would be hard", Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. "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".

The result left Ricciardo slightly disappointed but the Australian remained confident he could win the race on Sunday. I felt prepared. We need to make sure we keep that tomorrow.

McLaren put an end to their Honda nightmare on Friday after finally confirming they would divorce from their current engine supplier at the end of the season.

However, with the track ramping up in grip and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo - who had topped every session, including the opening two phases of qualifying -in hot pursuit, he could not bet on it. Barriers await the drivers who stray rather than run-off areas and Vettel had a brush with a barrier in the final segment of the three-part elimination qualifying that left a visible mark on the auto.

Although Singapore is a night race, the sweltering humidity tests drivers' endurance more than other races as fatigue and dehydration impact on concentration. He also produced a spirited performance a year ago as he raced from the back of the grid to finish at the fifth spot. Ticket sales for this year's race are 19 percent up.

Neighbouring Malaysia also hosts a Grand Prix but next month's race at Sepang is set to be the last.

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