As first practice got underway, two of our regular drivers would be sitting the session out, with Antonio Giovinazzi replacing Kevin Magnussen at Haas, and Sean Gelael replacing Carlos Sainz at Toro Rosso.
Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is clearly feeling the heat in Singapore - the Mercedes driver moaned repeatedly about the 32°C weather at the Hugo Boss meet-and-greet session poolside yesterday at the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore.
Asked how important it was to win in Singapore on Sunday in order to regain the championship lead, Vettel said: "I think it's more important to have the lead on Sunday night after Abu Dhabi [the final race], so whatever happens along the way happens, the target is clear".
Hamilton and Mercedes also have a chequered history in Singapore, even if now retired 2016 champion team mate Nico Rosberg won there past year.
"In theory it should be a bit better here than Monza but I think it will be close", Vettel told reporters. They are rapid through the medium and low-speed sections of circuits.
The Straits Times' F1 columnist David Tremayne certainly feels that as the 20-round season swings towards its last seven races, Singapore can be a turning point, especially since the prancing horses of Ferrari won in the street circuits of Monaco and Hungary this year. It can be a pivotal race.More news: Trump says he backs new GOP health care effort
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"Honestly I think it will be hard".
At Monaco Kimi Raikkonen led a Ferrari front-row lockout in qualifying but third-placed Bottas set a time within a tenth of the Finn's benchmark. "That would set Seb up with the advantage for the remaining six races, in which it's likely to be nip and tuck between them all the way". Williams will hope to be there right in the mix with Haas and Sauber will hope that the less engine dependence of this track gives their 2016 Ferrari-powered cars more chance to race with other teams. By contrast, main title rivals Ferrari have been strongest this year on high downforce tracks like the Marina Bay circuit and appear to be strong favourites going into the weekend, something both its drivers have been quick to play down going into the weekend.
We need to create some momentum and string together some consistent results with both cars inside the top 10.
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".
Although the Austrian is expecting a tough weekend, at a track that should play to the strengths of the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari machines over those of Mercedes, he takes great solace in the fact that his team managed to win here past year.
"I think here definitely qualifying is really important, and normally we have had a good auto in qualifying", Bottas said. "We have worked as hard we can to understand the auto and we come here with full attack". "I have a lot of faith we can stay there all weekend". In terms of out-of-the-blue slumps of form, there has been little to beat it in recent F1 history after Mercedes, on pole position at all of that season's previous races, arrived in Singapore with the same vehicle and lapped 1.5 seconds off Ferrari's qualifying pace.