Daniel Ricciardo expects to be in the hunt for Singapore Grand Prix success on Sunday night after running the two Mercedes close in the battle for pole position.

The Australian decided to take advantage of an empty circuit by venturing out for his second run in Q3 ahead of anyone else and, while the field appeared to trip over itself on its own out-lap, Ricciardo vaulted to the top of the pile, displacing early pacesetter Felipe Massa.

He remained top of the pile until Nico Rosberg crossed the line to fire Mercedes' first salvo, but appeared to have salvaged a front row start when Lewis Hamilton locked up at the start of his flying lap. Somehow, however, the Briton still managed to pull out a good enough lap to beat both Ricciardo and Rosberg to claim pole.

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Despite his disappointment, the Red Bull driver admitted that being within two-tenths of pole had exceeded his expectations and boded well for raceday.

"[The gap] is definitely encouraging," he confirmed, "Coming into the weekend, I thought that, if we could be within two or three tenths, it would give us a bit more of an optimistic chance in the race....

"I think, for such a long lap, it's amazing how close we are - it's pretty cool how many cars are within half a second or a second. It's going to be a fun race tomorrow definitely, but I think tyres will be the key as always - it's not going to be as straightforward as Monza, with one stop, but it should be fun."