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Ricciardo disappointed after third-straight P2 finish in Singapore

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Daniel Ricciardo was left disappointed after finishing second in the Singapore Grand Prix for the third year in a row, having boldly predicted Red Bull would take Formula 1 victory after qualifying.

Ricciardo set the pace through practice before qualifying third, but felt Red Bull’s long-run pace would give it an edge over pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel.

Rain in the lead-up to the start forced all driver to start on intermediate tires, with Ricciardo dodging a clash between Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen to run second early on.

Despite taking a free pit stop and having fresher tires than race leader Lewis Hamilton in the damp, Ricciardo was unable to catch the Mercedes driver, with the switch to slicks and two safety car periods also not being enough to bring him into contention.

“I can’t win the bloody thing, I’m trying, I’m trying!” Ricciardo joked on the podium, having also finished second in 2015 and 2016.

“Today, we don’t have probably that Friday pace we showed in practice to have the pace on Mercedes, so a little bit disappointed obviously to miss out on a win.

“I’ve still got to be pretty grateful and happy with another podium.”

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.