Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who have been in prime form this Formula One season, have their task cut out in the Singapore Grand Prix as they start at fifth and sixth places respectively on the starting grid on Sunday.
It is going to a be a test of Rosberg and Hamilton's character at the Marina Bay circuit in Singapore as Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel, who was the fastest in qualifying race with 1m 43.885s, will start in pole position, followed by Daniel Ricciardo (1m 44.428s) and Kimi Raikkonen (1m 44.667s).
Vettel, who looked superb in the qualifying round, was surprised by the margin (timing) between him and other drivers.
"The car was fantastic to drive; it just got better through qualifying. I think we got the maximum today. Surprised by the margin but I think it just came together. I really had a near-perfect lap at the end. I was very, very happy with the laps I had today, especially the last one," said Vettel at a press conference.
However, the German driver needs to come with a repeat performance on Sunday, when other drivers in the pack are going to push Vettel to the limit. Williams' drivers could prove to be his biggest test.
"Very happy, it puts us in a great place for tomorrow but, as I said, it's only Saturday and the main job is coming tomorrow. I'm sure the Mercedes will be quick tomorrow – everything else would be a bit of surprise and it's already a bit of a surprise."
It might be for the first time that Mercedes lacked speed this season. Hamilton believes that the tyres were not working on the car.
"We don't really know what we have got wrong," said Hamilton.
"For some reason the tyres are not working on the car. We do the warm-up the same as everyone else and then you see someone one second up the road..."
Hamilton and Rosberg have been mighty impressive this season with Mercedes winning 10 out of the 12 races. However, Vettel has been the only non-Mercedes driver to have won an F1 race this season. Vettel won the Hungarian and Malaysian Grand Prix. Can the German add Singapore GP to the list as well?
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo, who will start behind Vettel on Sunday, was rather surprised with Mercedes' performance and the Australian wants to make a good race on Sunday.
"To have no Mercedes up here is a surprise to everyone, still a bit of a surprise. I thought they were playing a few card games here yesterday but it seems they are obviously not particularly comfortable here this weekend," said Ricciardo.
"I think we've definitely made a lot of progress, since Silverstone but particularly for me since Budapest the car has really come alive. It's nice we can show that here. We expected it to work well and it is, so pretty happy and we'll just try to hang in there in the long runs tomorrow and make a race of it."
Force India drivers--Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez--who have been amongst the points this season will start in the 11th and 13th place resepectively in the grid.
Where to Watch Live
The Singapore Grand Prix race is scheduled for 8pm local time (5.30 pm IST, 1pm BST) start.
|India||Star Sports 4, Star Sports 4HD|
|United Kingdom||BBC, Sky Sports|
|Middle East and North Africa||Bein Sports Arabia|
|Germany, Italy||Sky Sport|
|India||Star Sports Online|
|US||NBC Sports Online|
|UK||Watch Sky Sports|
|Middle East||BeIN Sports Connect|
|Asia||Fox Sports Online|
|Italy||Sky Go Italy|
|Germany||Sky Go Germany|