Fighting Ferrari has been massive challenge: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton

Cesar Mills
September 16, 2017

On talent alone Ricciardo is a championship contender. With Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly in the frame for Sainz's vacant Toro Rosso seat, Sunday's race in Singapore could mark Palmer's last in the sport.

Champions Mercedes have won eight of 13 races this season.

"It was not ideal, I didn't mean to go off", he said.

"You're never going to be 100 percent happy, even if you win or finish one-two, you always find things to improve and do better".

The form book from Monaco and Hungary suggests Mercedes will be hard-pressed to topple Ferrari this weekend, while Red Bull are also envisaging a strong weekend, but that certainly doesn't mean the world champions can't cause a mini-surprise on Sunday. Red Bull took a series of engine penalties at the last round in Monza to ensure they are in the best shape for Singapore.

"I think Red Bull will be fast this weekend".

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was third, seven tenths off the pace, with title rival Vettel failing to complete a representative qualifying simulation in his Ferrari. Throughout the course of this season, Ricciardo has been a dark horse. Consequently, his teammate is now only three points behind in the drivers' standings, so Checo will hope for a much better showing this weekend at Singapore, where he will at least aim to beat Ocon if nothing else.

Mercedes have braced themselves for a hard weekend and although Hamilton posted the third-quickest time, it was a long way adrift of the lead Red Bull.

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He stormed back to life in 2016, finishing third, and while sitting fourth at the moment, will be hopeful of another top-three finish at season's end.

Whilst Verstappen remains a hugely talented string in the Red Bull bow, the Belgian still is yet to curb his rather erratic nature.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled throughout, though, and was 0.5s behind Hamilton in fourth place. "We tried a couple of things". "But I don't think that is a pattern which can't be broken". So my heart would love to. We will start practice tomorrow and only then will we see the situation.

Adding to the intrigue of Ricciardo's future are comments he made last month where he expressed his frustration at not having a title-winning auto at his disposal.

"I've not really put any thought into it yet; the work goes into it today", Hamilton added.

And although Rosberg's victory previous year has laid some of those 2015 ghosts to rest, Mercedes haven't forgotten that curious particular struggle. "I definitively believe in myself", Ricciardo told ESPN. "I have a lot of faith we can stay here all weekend".

"It's not going to be the easiest of weekends, but man I'm coming with positivity and with the plan of winning this race", said Hamilton. "For sure I expected a bit more but obviously it wasn't". "The fun fades away".

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? We don't have that at the moment. "For some reason Ferrari are slower, I don't know why".

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