Vettel to edge Hamilton in Singapore, say bookies

Vettel to edge Hamilton in Singapore, say bookies

Hamilton, who heads Sebastian Vettel by three points at the summit of the Formula One championship, was only third in practice at the Marina Bay circuit on Friday.

Decked out in weather-appropriate denim cut-offs and high-tops accessorised with a flashy gold chain, the British superstar may be sweating under his designer gear in Singapore, but he is keeping ice cool as the title race heats up here at this weekend's 2017 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.

But the Briton and his Mercedes team are braced for difficult weekend at this twisty and slow street circuit which is expected to suit both the Ferrari and Red Bull cars.

"We were obviously close with the field today and we have still got some improvements to make with the car", Hamilton said. "I know the challenge tomorrow will potentially be stronger from Ferrari and Mercedes, but I'm confident we can stay there".

"I think it's more important to have the lead after Sunday night in Abu Dhabi", Vettel told reporters in Singapore on Thursday, referring to the season-ending race.

Ricciardo put in a time of 1:39.840, nearly three and a half tenths behind Vettel's pole time of 1:39.492, with Verstappen splitting them on 1:39.814.

There was no word from Renault or Red Bull on their future together, following reports that the French manufacturer will walk away from their partnership after 2018. It's the longest race of the season in terms of duration.

His contact with the wall dislodged an advertising hoarding, triggering a virtual safety car period.

This time the McLarens were the first ones on track, but Räikkönen again led the line of the top drivers.

And when his colleague Sebastian Vettel followed him, it was to set a new lap record.

Niki Lauda has named Ferrari as the favourites to win this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix. The other man eliminated in the opening phase was Haas's Kevin Magnussen. The Mercedes are well off the pace so Hamilton has plenty to do if he wants to assert his dominance.

Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had this to say as the weekend approaches: “This is another circuit and another race.

But the former champions suffered a scare late in the session, with Verstappen reporting his car was shifting gears on its own.

"I hope at least it's going to be a tight and exciting one".

"We will approach it with healthy scepticism, leave no stone unturned and aim to deliver every bit of performance that we can".

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