Verstappen: Red Bull in a promising position to fight Ferrari

Lauda banking on Ferrari in Singapore

The Dutchman followed up on an encouraging Friday - as Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo topped both practice sessions - to lead the way in final practice before posting the fastest time in the first two segments of qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel set a sensational time to take pole for the Singapore Grand Prix. "I thought Red Bull would be as quick as they were", he said.

"I'm still confident we'll get victory".

At three points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, this gives Vettel his best chances of snatching the title lead away from Hamilton, who surged ahead by the slimmest of margins after a strong finish at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month.

It was also his third of the season but he had to put everything on the line when it really mattered to beat the Red Bulls in a close-run session, lighting up the timing screens with a lap of one minute 39.491 seconds. "We have some races coming up where I think we'll be strong".

"I still believe we can win - I'm still confident we'll get victory", said Ricciardo, who has finished on the podium in the last three straight races in Singapore and came within half a second of victory a year ago.

"We knew coming here it would be hard", Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

"We made some progress from the morning and even though we were the quickest in FP1, I still wanted to get more out of the vehicle and the set up in the afternoon".

Red Bull arrived in Singapore hopeful of making the strength of its RB13 auto show around the street circuit, expecting to draw closer to usual leaders Ferrari and Mercedes at the front of the pack.

"You always go for it if there is a gap and if it's possible, but if not then you just settle down and get into the race".

"We knew that today would be tough", he said.

"I don't know where Ferrari have picked up that pace". And while the German ended up three-tenths clear at the front of the field, Red Bull think Sunday will follow a different script.

The other McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne was ninth while Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso-Renault - who will switch to Honda power next year and Sainz will join Hulkenberg at Renault - completed the top ten.

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