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

17 September 2017, 07:53 | Erica Roy

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

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia steers his car into the pit lane during the second practice session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit Singapore Friday Sept. 15

The Red Bull duo have looked fastest ever since they began practice on the Marina Bay circuit and team principal Christian Horner is upbeat about his team's chances this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, who managed to snag the drivers' championship lead at the last race, will be starting in P5 ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas in P6.

But the four-time race victor Vettel was less than a tenth behind in his Ferrari with 1:41.901.

"I don't know where Ferrari have picked up that pace", he added. Red Bull, however, is restrained by an underperforming Renault engine, whereas Ferrari's power unit is nearly on par with Mercedes'.

Vettel, who was closer to Red Bull in FP1, says he is still trying to find the ideal balance of his vehicle.

"I definitely didn't anticipate Ferrari to be as strong as they were, I thought Red Bull would be as quick as they were".

Red Bull had appeared to be favourites going into qualifying after showing strong qualifying pace, but Raikkonen thinks the final result shows Fridays can be misleading in Formula One.

"It was unbelievable, I'm still full of adrenaline". Vettel went even faster and claimed an easy pole for Ferrari.

But Hamilton has refused to give up hope of retaining the lead of the championship race in his quest to become the first British driver to win four world titles.

Ferrari's engineers, both at the track and back at the factory in Maranello, had run through numerous set-ups, as test driver Charles Leclerc (who is set to win this year's Formula 2 title and will race for Sauber in F1 in 2018) undertook countless runs in the simulator.

But Verstappen was told to return to the pits slowly after reporting that the auto was "shifting by itself" while Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo clipped the wall, forcing him to back out of his final attempt a low-fuel run. "We are still not where Ferrari or Mercedes is".

Vettel had struggled considerably during second practice session, placing only 11th under the sticky floodlights.

"Today's Friday, we tried various options, different tyres but, come Sunday, we'll know what we want".

Nico Hulkenberg is seventh in his Renault and will start alongside the McLaren of Fernando Alonso. "In theory it should be better here than Monza, but I think it will be close".

"Tomorrow is a long race, these guys are very quick, we had a hard night yesterday, better night today". There was smoke on Kvyat's Toro Rosso as he came into the pits, meanwhile, Verstappen had now taken the top spot. Perhaps there was a bit of time in the last sector to find but in general I am very pleased with how the vehicle and I performed. His teammate Stoffel Vandoorne is ninth and Carlos Sainz rounds out the top 10.

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