Singapore Grand Prix: Red Bull pair Ricciardo and Verstappen fancy chances around Marina Bay Circuit
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has said he has a “good chance” of payback for his Monaco disappointment by registering a first victory of the season in the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.
Ricciardo looked a certain winner in Monaco earlier this season after starting from pole, until a botched pit stop cost him dearly and handed Mercedes-GP’s Lewis Hamilton the win.
But he says he can make up for it around the similarly slow and twisty Singapore street circuit where Red Bull are again expected to be strong.
“It is the next closest track to Monaco so we look at it as a good chance to try to get a victory on our side,” Ricciardo said on Thursday during his pre-race news conference.
Singapore saw a Mercedes meltdown in the high humidity last year as they failed to get on the podium as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won with Ricciardo finishing as runner-up.
“Deep down, we obviously want to win, and we are winners,” Ricciardo said. “Let’s see what happens, but I am definitely excited.”
His Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen is also bullish heading in the race.
“I think this track should suit us better,” said Vesrtappen, 18, of the Marina Bay Circuit which has 23 mainly slow speed turns and some long straights, diminishing power and aerodynamic advantage of the championship-leading Mercedes.
“I think we will know how good we are tomorrow,” said Verstappen, looking ahead to today’s two practice sessions.
“It’s difficult to say we will be the No 1 team here because we haven’t driven yet.”
Mercedes’ Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are separated by just two points at the top of the drivers’ championship, with Ricciardo 89 points behind the triple world champion in third.
Verstappen is sixth, a further 40 points behind, but is the only non-Mercedes driver to have won a grand prix this season.
That was in Spain in May, when Hamilton and Rosberg took each other out with a first-lap smash.
Meanwhile, Vettel is hopeful he and Ferrari can end their 18-race victory drought at the scene of their last triumph.
“This track was very good for us last year and we have improved the car from then so we should have a reasonable chance,” the four-time world champion said.
“You have to make Mercedes favourites but they had a difficult time here last season. There’s no guarantee that it happens again but if they do struggle, then everyone will be happy to take advantage.”
Vettel’s best result this season is second place, achieved in Australia, China, Azerbaijan and Canada. He is fourth in the drivers’ standings with 143 points.
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Published: September 15, 2016 04:00 AM