This is the case largely due to the fact that when Vettel was comfortably leading the 67-lap race around the 17-turn, 2.842-mile (4.574-kilometer) Hockenheimring in Am Motodrom, Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany with 16 laps to go, he crashed with the track being wet as a result of rain.
The big-smiling Australian, who is expected to be confirmed as remaining with Red Bull in the next few days, clocked a best time of 1minute17.613 seconds in a hot and dusty session at the Hungaroring. "Tomorrow I will have a fight on my hands", said Ricciardo.
After scraping through to the second part of qualifying on the soft tire while the rest of the field was using ultrasofts, Ricciardo was then eliminated in 12th place, having failed to get a clear lap in at the start of Q2.
"Are we good?" Hamilton asked his team over the radio.
"I think we have a good enough vehicle to be on the front row".
The Dutchman will start from seventh on the grid
Referring to the Mercedes driver's alleged biblical conduct at the Hockenheim, Villeneuve said: "The way [Hamilton] knelt next to his auto after having his problem in qualifying looked like the suffering of Christ".
Mercedes are expecting a hard weekend on a track that they believe does not suit their auto, and the first indications are that Ferrari and Red Bull do have a small advantage.
"You can plan it as much as you want but things will go quickly and obviously we will try to make the right decisions on the tyres when it comes and hopefully make a good getaway and see what we can do".
The key then becomes making the tyres last in the opening stint with high fuel, as overheating rears would open up the opportunity to overtaking.
Dutch team mate Max Verstappen qualified only seventh, with Renault's Carlos Sainz and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly fifth and sixth respectively.
Hulkenberg did not run for the last half-hour after stopping out on track with an engine shutdown.
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