Ric­cia­rdo tops both Sin­ga­pore GP prac­tices in record times

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Red Bull showed it might have the form to con­tend for vic­tory at the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix, with Daniel Ric­cia­rdo beat­ing his lap record again in the sec­ond prac­tice on Fri­day.

Ric­cia­rdo had al­ready crushed his lap record from last year by nearly five sec­onds in the af­ter­noon’s first prac­tice, and then went two sec­onds quicker in the sec­ond prac­tice.

The Aus­tralian clocked 1 minute, 40.852 sec­onds un­der the flood­lights, and that was enough to con­vince him that he can clinch a sec­ond win of the sea­son and sixth of his ca­reer on Sun­day.

Team­mate Max Ver­stap­pen was sec­ond, more than half a sec­ond be­hind, cham­pi­onship leader Lewis Hamil­ton was .70 back in third, and his Mercedes team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas fourth.

It was a dis­ap­point­ing evening ses­sion for Fer­rari, which was ex­pected to dom­i­nate on the sinewy five-kilo­me­ter (three-mile) street cir­cuit. Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, who is sec­ond in the ti­tle race, could man­age only the 11th best time and team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen was ninth.

Even though Vet­tel set his time us­ing a slower tire com­pound in P2, he looked shaky and brushed the wall com­ing out of a rou­tine turn.

In P1, he was sec­ond to Ric­cia­rdo, Ver­stap­pen was third and Hamil­ton fourth.

Sin­ga­pore is like Monaco and Hun­gary in that it is a hard-brak­ing track which is tough to over­take on, and more suited to Fer­rari and Red Bull than Mercedes.

No driver has more podium fin­ishes in Sin­ga­pore than Vet­tel, whose im­pres­sive streak at the night race in­cludes three straight wins from 2011-13 dur­ing his run of four straight F1 ti­tles with for­mer team Red Bull.

But Ric­cia­rdo ar­rives in Sin­ga­pore in very con­sis­tent form, with six podi­ums in the last nine races.

He has fur­ther rea­son to be con­fi­dent, fin­ish­ing sec­ond here in the last two years, with the fastest lap both times.

His Red Bull team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner joked, per­haps it was Ric­cia­rdo’s “aero­dy­namic” new hair­cut that helped him shave off chunks of time.

Re­gard­less, Horner was some­what cau­tious ahead of qual­ify-

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