― Reuters picSINGAPORE, Sept 16 ― Dutch teenager Max Verstappen set the pace in final practice for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday as Red Bull continued to dominate ahead of qualifying at the Marina Bay street circuit.
And the first day of track action at the venue has duly gone according to plan for the Austrian team, with Ricciardo narrowly topping FP1 and then heading a dominant Red Bull 1-2 in FP2.
Ricciardo, who was quickest in both practice sessions on Friday, said he was "still confident" he could get victory on Sunday and the stage is set for a titanic struggle in the race. "We have worked as hard we can to understand the car and we come here with full attack".
'I believe Singapore won't be our only chance but is one of our best chances of a win in the second half of the season, ' he said.
Bottas, 28, is currently in the third spot of the men's championship after getting two wins from a total of 13 races this year.
"If we can get the car in a place we're comfortable in, then I think we'll definitely be strong", said the Briton.
"I got everything I could out of the car - I got everything and more, I literally threw the sink at it. I squeezed every bit out of it and was just hoping".
Nineteen-year-old Max Verstappen, who was within touching distance of becoming the youngest polesitter in Formula 1, ended up with the best time of 1:39.814.
The drivers eliminated in first session were Kevin Magnussen, Massa, Stroll, Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.
As expected, Mercedes struggled to replicate its usual performance levels throughout qualifying in Singapore, which started with Red Bull seemingly in control.
"Seb turned it on today but I think we have better race pace".
Hamilton, who reported that drivers were driving dangerously on team radio as he encountered traffic, improved late on to pop into third, leaving the top three split by just 0.142s.
Renault's Jolyon Palmer will start ahead of the Mexican after missing out on Q3 by the smallest of margins.