"I don't know where it came from but it all came together".
Vettel arrived in steamy Singapore 30 points behind the Englishman but with high expectations of clawing back ground on a circuit expected to favour his Ferrari. "It felt like one of the best laps I can remember feeling", the Briton added, describing the 23-turn floodlit circuit as "Monaco on steroids".
"The tyres didn't feel so great by the time we pitted, but we more or less had the pace to maintain that same rhythm".
"With the way we raced today we didn't have a chance".
Ricciardo has finished on the podium in the last four editions of the Singapore Grand Prix, including a hattrick of second places from 2015-17.
"No we are looking good compared to those around us", assured his race engineer Peter Bonnington.
"It's not ideal obviously, we wanted to get pole and didn't", said Vettel. "And we didn't get everything out of the package".
In indomitable form, there is now a relentless, intimidating quality to Lewis Hamilton's driving that seems to simply brook no dissent. He was beaten to pole by Hamilton, with Raikkonen sixth after the team couldn't get him back out on track quickly enough with the end of the session approaching.
The need for speed: The people of Singapore are the fastest walkers on the planet, at an average of 6.15kph Hamilton's pole position in Singapore was the 200th for an English driver in F1 history. "So positioning is everything". They just avoided contact.
The German has often made good starts this season and his British Grand Prix victory in July was set up by passing Hamilton on the run to the first corner.
The German four-time world champion used his superior Ferrari power to outdrag Verstappen down Raffles Boulevard and just managed to nip past the Dutchman before the safety vehicle brought a temporary halt to hostilities on the first lap for the third year in succession in Singapore.
At the front of the field race leader Hamilton continued to control the gap to Verstappen in second, the pair delicately navigating their way through some recalcitrant lapped traffic that briefly threatened to hand the Dutchman an opportunity to make a pass for the lead, but behind them Vettel had fallen back significantly as he attempted to nurse his ultrasoft tires to the end.
Vettel emerged from his auto dejected and facing an nearly insurmountable 40-point title comeback. Verstappen held position, Vettel dropping to third.
"No chance", he radioed his team moodily. "If [being aggressive] works it's great - today it didn't work by quite a bit".