One of the most stunning races on the Formula 1 calendar, Singapore is a feast for the eyes as the sport’s original night race, with this year’s edition the 11th since the lights first switched on in 2008.
And it’s a firm fan favourite, with the city-state a cultural melting pot, one where east meets west with futuristic architecture and green space.
The event brings together the best of racing with F1 sharing the bill with Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific, and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
…while off-track, Singapore’s race is known for its live performances from some of the hottest acts from the music world.
For the drivers, it’s the toughest race of the season with cockpit temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius at racing speed, requiring lots of gym work in the lead-up to the race.
SOUNDBITE: (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
3-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“It's just so hot, man. The clothing that we have is still fireproof - but if you have long sleeve underwear on, long sleeve kind of pants and then top, balaclava and then the suit on top of that, which is another three layers and then gloves. Then you go in a sauna. And here, even if you open your visor a little bit, there is no cool breeze coming in, so you are sweating before you even get in the car.”
And it’s a eye-opening experience for rookies, with Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo sharing exclusively with The Inside Line just how tough it was the first time around.
AUDIO QUOTE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“My first race there in 2011 I didn’t know what to expect it was probably physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. And I just basically never wanted that feeling again because that wasn’t fun so I just made a point to always just prepare well.”
Last year’s race was a thriller, with the event’s first-ever wet start followed by a multi-million dollar crash that eliminated both the Ferraris for the first time-ever on an opening lap… Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen locked in a Scuderia sandwich, and out as well.
And while it was later voted the season’s most dramatic moment, it was a costly one for Vettel whose deficit to title rival and race winner Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton ballooned from three points to 28.
SOUNDBITE (English) SEBASTIAN VETTEL,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“Singapore, from my point of view, that's racing, I thought about it a lot on Sunday night and it was not easy to put behind, but then what do you do?”
Despite the hiccup, Vettel remains the most successful driver at the Marina Bay Street Circuit with four wins, Hamilton is on three, while Fernando Alonso has two. Nico Rosberg makes it an all-world champion winners’ list.
But six drivers are likely to be in contention for the victory this year, with Red Bull’s RB14 stronger on tight tracks that aren’t power sensitive.
Located in the heart of Singapore’s Marina Bay, the 5.065-kilometre track features 23 turns, more than any other circuit in F1, and a top speed of 315 kilometres an hour. Lewis Hamilton reset the lap record last year in his Mercedes. There are two DRS activation zones: one on the back straight, and another on the pit straight. There are also two DRS detection zones, one at Turn 4, and the other between Turns 21 and 22.
2018 also marks 10 years since F1’s infamous crash-gate saga, when Renault’s Nelson Piquet junior deliberately crashed to help his teammate Fernando Alonso win the race.
F1 at night is a spectacular proposition. Bring on the lights, cameras and action at Singapore’s Marina Bay.