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Sebastian Vettel claims blistering pole as Lewis Hamilton labours in P5

17 September 2017

Ricciardo won't be able to tune in for the Eagles next challenge, a sudden death semi-final against GWS Giants at Spotless Stadium on Saturday night, as he will be busy putting his Red Bull Car through its paces in qualifying around the Marina Bay Circuit.

Lewis Hamilton, who leads Vettel by only three points in the world championship, could manage only fifth, one place ahead of his Mercedes team-mate, Valtteri Bottas.

As the sun set at Marina Bay, Vettel was the first driver to post a representative time, the Ferrari driver going quickest with 1m43.237s, but he clipped the wall on the exit of the penultimate corner in the process.

The Ferrari driver came home with a time of 1:39.491 to give him a shot at victory tomorrow. And three behind the Red Bulls.

"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 a year ago", said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. But I think tomorrow if we at least jump one at the start and put some pressure on, we'll get them. I thought pole would be on, but we couldn't quite run the limit in the last qualifying.

"I was holding on to the reins for dear life", said Hamilton. Ferrari, and especially Sebastian Vettel, had other ideas. But this is a awful track for overtaking; it will be a long race.

For the record, seven of the last eight races here have been won by the polesitter.

"I gave it everything today but I could not get any more out of the vehicle, I squeezed it until it was dry", added Hamilton.

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Speaking of which, the Red Bulls were actually fastest in the first two rounds of qualifying.

Certainly, Red Bull appear to have excellent race pace.

"We knew that today would be tough", he said.

"Time in the sauna is one, or just train in hot climates, sit on the bike, layer up and just learn to get the body in that condition and that environment".

It seems Mercedes have also turned their attentions to Red Bull, having previously installed closest Constructors' Championship challengers Ferrari as the pre-race favourites thanks to their high-downforce advantage.

Hamilton has been on pole position at both races since the summer break, and qualifying is crucial in Singapore with overtaking virtually impossible. "As I said many times whatever I do next year is because I want to win". "I think every year we've come here it's been relatively hard for us generally but we knew today would be tough".

The second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne was ninth, well ahead of 10th-placed Carlos Sainz Jr.

Sebastian Vettel claims blistering pole as Lewis Hamilton labours in P5