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On Monday, he touched base at Mercedes' Northamptonshire HQ, and then on to Frankfurt to launch Mercedes' £2.4million Project One hypercar.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia snacks in his team garage between laps during the second practice session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit Singapore, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

Vettel's run at five straight was interrupted in 2014 by none other than Lewis Hamilton, who also took the top spot in 2009.

Numerous drivers had brushes with the wall, but none caused serious damage - though Sebastian Vettel did briefly trigger the Virtual Safety Car after dislodging an advertising hoarding at Turn 10.

Mercedes were beaten by Ferrari in Singapore two years ago, when they had their least competitive weekend of an otherwise dominant 2015 campaign. Former champions McLaren and Williams have not won since 2012.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled throughout, though, and was 0.5s behind Hamilton in fourth place. Add to that the record of Vettel himself during his career in Asia, everything points to a hard few weeks for the Mercedes team as a whole.

Reigning world champions Mercedes AMG are certainly not getting their hopes high ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, admitting ahead of the race that it will be "more hard". Vettel has 96, Raikkonen 88.

Meanwhile, Hamilton, a three-time F1 world champion and two-time victor in Singapore, will be looking for a 60th race victory of his career.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia snacks in his team garage between laps during the second practice session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit Singapore Friday Sept. 15 2017
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Vettel and Hamilton both have 18 scoring finishes in a row.

Mercedes' Singapore concerns are legitimate and based on the evidence of the last two circuits which feature slow, technical corners like Marina Bay - Monaco and Hungary. Every one was already, or went on to become, a world champion. The anticipated temperatures in Singapore reaching 86 degrees Fahrenheit with 86% of humidity at the time of the race.

The Australian, who had set a record lap time during Friday's opening 90-minute session, ended the day with an even quicker effort of 1 minute 40.852 seconds.

Mercedes may well be leading the Constructors' championship by more than 60 points but it is the Driver's Championship which presents a very interesting case.

Ricciardo arrives in Singapore in very consistent form, with six podiums in the last nine races.

The lowest winning grid position was Alonso, who came from 15th place in a now-notorious 2008 race where his Brazilian team mate Nelson Piquet crashed his Renault deliberately on team orders.

"It's a demanding weekend for the teams: the ambient conditions make life in the garage tough, it's physically demanding for the drivers and challenging for the cars in terms of managing brake and tyre temperatures". Previous year it was deployed on the opening lap. They won again with Nico Rosberg a year ago. "I just want to collect as many points as possible and hopefully that will take me far".

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