Merc brace for Ferrari, Red Bull test

Merc brace for Ferrari, Red Bull test

Merc brace for Ferrari, Red Bull test

Mercedes were beaten by Ferrari in Singapore two years ago, when they had their least competitive weekend of an otherwise dominant 2015 campaign.

With Ferrari's four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel just three points adrift of current leader Hamilton, the Mercedes speedster will be watching his rear mirror for his German arch-rival, who is the most successful driver here with four race wins, as the race flags off at the Marina Bay street circuit on Sunday.

A general view taken from Swissotel the Stamford shows the illuminated circuit for the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix night race on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel will look to leapfrog Lewis Hamilton once more in the standings, in the first of three races on the Asian leg of the F1 calendar. A Mercedes win would be considered an upset in Singapore, whose 23 corners and lack of long straights tend to play to Ferrari's strengths.

But Bottas said he now had the opportunity to nail down a spot with Mercedes with his performances this year and next season. Ferrari also clinched 1-2 in Hungary, another track which neutralizes the power of Mercedes. Separated by only three points, if either Vettel or Hamilton have a slip up, it could prove to be costly. "Perhaps a little more than we expected", Hamilton said. "On the surface, Singapore is the kind of circuit that should favor both Ferrari and Red Bull".

"We were making big setup changes between the first and the second session, but still didn't quite find the right setting", said Bottas. The youngster and his father Jos - a former F1 driver - both said after the Belgian GP they're not sure what lies in store if Red Bull and Renault can't organise a package capable of delivering sustained success.

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When any team is competing for the championship, the relationship between their two drivers is always a point of contention and with Red Bull potentially leaning towards the young Dutchman, Ricciardo could soon be driving elsewhere.

Drivers must also contend with sweltering humidity, as Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo explains. "With that in mind, his results have been probably even more impressive". "We have no idea until we get there what the picture's going to look like but I think we learned a lot from the past but on a hot track, Ferrari are often better in hot places".

His teammate Max Verstappen, meanwhile, prepares for the race by "doing heat training in the sauna and getting ready to sweat".

He has arrived this year after six podiums in the last nine races.

Alonso is a two-time victor at Marina Bay, and his morale must surely have been boosted by McLaren's confirmed switch to Renault power.

Ricciardo posted a 1m42.489s on the second flying lap on his second set of ultra-soft tyres to secure the fastest time with 26 minutes remaining of the one-and-a-half hour session. "So my aim this year is definitely to start on pole and go one better".

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