Formula One: Red Bull's Ricciardo leads the way in practice, setting record lap time

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in action during the second practice session of the Singapore Grand Prix. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Daniel Ricciardo was the pacesetter at the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix after two practice sessions at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Friday (Sept 15).

The Australian blazed around the 5.065km track in 1min 40.852sec - a new lap record - with team-mate Max Verstappen completing a 1-2 for Red Bull in 1:41.408 in the second session.

The lap record had been held by retired world champion Nico Rosberg, who clocked 1:42.584 in qualifying last year.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes had the third fastest time of 1:41.555, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas in fourth (1:42.104) in the second session.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg (1:42.448) was fifth.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who with four victories is the most successful driver in Singapore, was running on soft tyres which have less grip than the ultra soft tyres most other drivers were using.

He was 11th in 1:43.104, behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen (1:42.835) in ninth although Vettel was second and Raikkonen seventh in the first session.

Qualifying takes place on Saturday. Position on the starting grid is especially important on a tight, winding track in Singapore where overtaking is at a premium.

Seven of the nine previous Singapore GP pole sitters went on to win the race, with only Felipe Massa (2008) and Hamilton (2012) failing to secure victory.

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