Ricciardo insists Singapore race was lost in qualifying

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Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo believes his relative under-performance in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix was just the by-product of his botched qualifying session the day before.

Contrary to team mate Max Verstappen who never lost eye contact with Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, Ricciardo was never in contention for a spot among the top three.

Pit stop rotations put him artificially in command as Red Bull extended his stint on Pirelli's hypersoft tyre, but at the end of the day the Aussie fnished sixth, some 53 seconds adrift from the winner.

"In the end, the race was a bit as we expected but we hoped for some sort of ultimate strategy," said Ricciardo.

"We tried something different by going long on the hyper-soft and we had good pace but a street circuit is only really great if you are on pole, otherwise it’s not only hard to overtake but even to follow.

"Qualifying is so important here and the race was really lost yesterday."

At one point, Ricciardo was snapping at the heels of fifth-place man Kimi Raikkonen, with Valtteri Bottas also just up the road, but ultimately he was forced to ease his pace to keep his temperatures in check.

"I could catch Kimi, I would stay close to him for a couple of laps and then I would have to back-off," he explained.

"I had the pace to get back on his gearbox but I was never quite close enough to make a move. I really had to hope for a mistake or that Kimi and Valtteri would start tangling and I could capitalise."

"I got close at Turn 13 on the last lap, but it wasn’t close enough."

Ricciardo sampled first hand the difficulties of racing in close contention on a street circuit, a challenge that brought back memories of Hamilton's comments from Monaco earlier this year.

"Street circuits are my favourite tracks to drive but they can also be frustrating," said the Renault-bound driver.

"In Monaco I listened to Lewis in seventh place complaining about following closely and now I understand what he was complaining about. I think everyone was in the same boat.

"I would have loved to fight for something more today but I couldn’t."

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