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Ricciardo targeting ‘dominant’ Singapore weekend after leading Friday

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Daniel Ricciardo has set his sights on a “dominant” Singapore Grand Prix weekend for Red Bull after leading both Formula 1 practice sessions on Friday at Marina Bay.

Red Bull arrived in Singapore hopeful of making the strength of its RB13 car show around the street circuit, expecting to draw closer to usual leaders Ferrari and Mercedes at the front of the pack.

Ferrari was tipped to dominate, only for Ricciardo to sweep both practice sessions on Friday, finishing half a second clear of the pack in FP2 and head up a one-two finish for Red Bull.

The result may have caught the majority of the paddock by surprise, but Ricciardo was far from shocked.

“It was a good day out there today, but I expected this, to be honest, and am not really surprised with our performance. I knew we would come here with a good car,” Ricciardo said.

“We made some progress from the morning and even though we were the quickest in FP1, I still wanted to get more out of the car and the set up in the afternoon.

“We took another step forward throughout the day, which was good and we now hope there is still more room to improve for tomorrow.”

After such an impressive start, Ricciardo wants to carry this form throughout the weekend and capture his first Singapore victory.

“I’m after a dominant weekend and so far this has been a good start,” Ricciardo said.

“It’s important that we obviously keep that for tomorrow but I have faith that we can perform on this level all weekend.

“I know the challenge in qualifying will be a potentially stronger Ferrari and Mercedes but I’m confident we can stay up there and fight with them at the top.”

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.