Vettel refusing to buy into Singapore favorite hype

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates his third place after completing the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Monza racetrack Italy Sunday Sept. 3 2017

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates his third place after completing the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Monza racetrack Italy Sunday Sept. 3 2017

"At no point during this year have I got any signs from the team that they were looking somewhere else", Bottas said at the Singapore Grand Prix.

LEWIS HAMILTON, Mercedes driver and current championship leader, conceding Ferrari are favourites in Singapore.

Vettel trailed home in third place, more than half a minute behind the Briton, and lost the overall lead he had enjoyed all season with Hamilton now three points clear and seven races remaining.

Besides Ferrari, Red Bull is another team that should be strong on the high downforce circuit with Daniel Ricciardo, leading their charge.

The Finn has claimed two race wins and nine further podium finishes so far this season, putting himself in the thick of the title fight earlier in the summer when he sat just 23 points off the lead after the British Grand Prix. Red Bull is expected to challenge but Ferrari could use that to its advantage if it is able to put the Milton Keynes-based team between itself and Mercedes in the race.

Why doesn't Singapore suit Mercedes?

Only four drivers have won at the Marina Bay circuit. Though Mercedes has done a lot of work to understand the performance fluctuations of the auto Toto Wolff labelled a "diva" earlier this year, this weekend still has a "damage limitation" feel to it.

Indeed, Hamilton was nearly 40 seconds ahead of Vettel's lead Ferrari at Monza, while Mercedes were also comfortable at another low downforce track in Silverstone.

Mercedes have braced themselves for a hard weekend and while Hamilton posted the third-quickest time, he was not able to deliver the same lap times as Red Bull.

After beating Vettel to top spot in FP1, Ricciardo repeated the feat in FP2 and the Australian was tellingly quicker when it came to race pace simulations.

Hamilton's record in Singapore is poor in recent years, too. Williams will hope to be there right in the mix with Haas and Sauber will hope that the less engine dependence of this track gives their 2016 Ferrari-powered cars more chance to race with other teams.

"I go with what we have, what I will feel tomorrow at the track and the vehicle that I have then under me", said Vettel.

To dampen expectations on Red Bull, somewhat, Ferrari have typically turned up stronger on race day this term, while Mercedes boast the greatest single-lap pace on the grid.

Renault's Nico Hülkenberg, sporting a revised helmet scheme, placed ninth, as Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10 for Toro Rosso.

"You have to build up speed a little slower in the practice sessions on a street circuit like Singapore".

Qualifying is at 2pm on Saturday and the race at 2pm.

So far, the 28-year-old Finn has finished on the podium nine times this season, winning races in Russian Federation and Austria, and is now third in the drivers' standings on 197 points with seven races left on the 2017 calendar.

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