When the race re-started, Ferrari gambled on pitting first for new tires by bringing in Vettel first.
It was late Saturday in sweltering Singapore and archrival Lewis Hamilton had just driven brilliantly to secure pole position for Mercedes.
Ricciardo topped the afternoon session at Marina Bay with a lap of 1:39.711 but when times began to quicken up in the evening, Red Bull fell off the pace and eventually finished half a second shy of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton who were split at the top of the timesheets by just 0.01s. I think other people did a better job.
He had passed Verstappen for second place on the opening lap but the team's early pitstop in an attempt to undercut Hamilton did not pay off.
Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen drives at the Marina Bay Street Circuit during the first practice session ahead of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix in Singapore on September 14, 2018.
"We can recover most of it tomorrow so we are not that anxious", Vettel told Sky Sports.
"Normally in the race you have to turn down the power", he said. "I don't really know where it came from", Hamilton said in an interview.
"No chance", he radioed his team moodily.
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"I was a bit nervous going into qualifying because I didn't think we had the pace". It was perfectly on the limit, it felt like one of the best laps (I've done).
But if Vettel is feeling the pressure, he didn't show it.
Winning from pole on one of the hardest tracks for overtaking in F1 was nothing special in itself. "Because they did great and that's why they are on pole by quite a margin". His performance at a handful of races at the start of the year left a little to be desired, but in terms of race-changing mistakes, none stand out.
Tensions have been creeping in at Ferrari. Vettel needs to start beating Hamilton fast, but it is looking more and more like the Englishman's season.
Vettel then botched qualifying in Hungary, again in the rain, as Hamilton took pole and won to stretch his series lead.
Great performance though Hamilton's was to secure the pole in a Mercedes that, like past year, was generally unsuited to the track's characteristics, in reality Ferrari had presented him with an open goal.
The gap between Verstappen and Hamilton narrowed to a second as a positional battle between Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin, with the French driver choosing to ignore blue flags, holding up the frustrated Brit and allowing the Red Bull to get within range.
Ferrari has made some alarming blunders for such a prestigious and famed team. In Hungary, the team forgot to fill Raikkonen's drinks bottle, meaning he drove the whole race in sweltering conditions without water.