Daniel Ricciardo believes that Red Bull has the best race pace around the Marina Bay Circuit this weekend. The Australian topped the opening practice session, with teammate Max Verstappen slotting in behind in second.
However, Red Bull failed to match Ferrari and Mercedes in the qualifying simulations times during FP2. The energy drink squad was around half a second down on pace-setter Kimi Raikkonen, who narrowly edged out Lewis Hamilton for the fastest time.
But after studying the race simulation data, Ricciardo is confident that Red Bull has the best race pace from the top three teams: "On the [soft and super-soft] tyres we are looking as good or better than everyone but, honestly, if we don't qualify in the top two or three it's probably not that important," he said.
"Qualifying is nearly as important here as in Monaco so a little bit of work to do for tomorrow. I think the morning session went better than this evening's one, just a bit more comfortable with the car. I mean taking the lap times out, we were more comfortable this morning with a hotter track, which is a bit weird.
"I think we can find a good balance for the evening, obviously that's when qualifying takes place, so it's important to learn from today. I think we know where we stand and I think we are going to be alright," Ricciardo added.
The 29-year-old has never won in Singapore despite being on the podium at the last four races in the Asian country. When asked what he needs to do to take the maximum result from Singapore, Ricciardo conceded that it is out of his hands.
"All I can do is hope. I have prepared well and the team has brought a pretty good car here," Ricciardo said. "A good start would have helped me last year and for sure the front row is key. That's the plan. Ready to go for the rest of the weekend and I think tomorrow is going to be very close. All three teams can be fast around here."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing