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Defiant Ricciardo still confident of Singapore F1 victory

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Daniel Ricciardo remained defiant following Formula 1 qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday, maintaining he can still win the race from third place on the grid.

Ricciardo led both practice sessions on Friday in Singapore for Red Bull, with teammate Max Verstappen topping the final running on Saturday morning to make the team the favorite heading into qualifying.

However, it was Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who managed to snatch pole away, producing a stunning final lap in Q3 to beat Verstappen and Ricciardo.

“I’m a little envious today. I will accept a little bit of defeat,” Ricciardo told NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton after qualifying.

“But I’m still confident we will get victory. I think we’ve got a good package.

“Seb turned it on in qualifying, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

With overtaking being notoriously difficult around the tight confines of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Ricciardo acknowledged he would need to weigh up risk and reward at the start in a bid to pass both Verstappen and Vettel.

“For sure my intention is to try and go forward. I think here it’s hard to pass,” Ricciardo said.

“Obviously the start is a big opportunity so the intention is to go for it, and see what happens. We’ll see what happens after Turn 1.”

The Singapore Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET.

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.