F1 drivers in for bumpy ride

2008-09-27 13:15
Singapore - The Singapore street circuit is too bumpy and a cause for concern, some of Formula One's top drivers say, but they are thriving on the challenge.

The island is hosting its inaugural Grand Prix and has been widely praised for putting on a spectacular show, but the city streets are proving problematic.

Veteran Red Bull driver David Coulthard described the track like "the cobbled streets of Paris, and very unforgiving".

As for world championship leader Lewis Hamilton he said it was twice as hard to negotiate as the more famous Monaco street circuit.

"Through certain corners there was lots of bottoming, and when you hit a bump it would throw the car around quite a bit - but it's an amazing venue," said the McLaren driver.

"It's a very physical circuit - more than I expected, actually," he added.

"You need to put a lot of work into the car to get a good lap. I'd say it requires double the energy of Monaco over a single lap. One lap around here is like two laps of Monaco."

His teammate Heikki Kovalainen is also wary about the bumps.

"The track was quite bumpy. Perhaps we should also look at the pit entry - it could be quite difficult if a driver decides to pull into the pits at the last minute," he said.

"However, everything else about the track is fine. This place has got some difficult corners but I quite like all the sectors."

Challenging

Ferrari's title challenger Felipe Massa agreed with Kovalainen about the pit entry.

"The entry and exit to the pit lane could turn out to be a bit critical in the race," he said.

"In general, the track surface has a lot of grip but in some points there are some bumps that are a bit of a pain.

"It is a street circuit which means you have to concentrate all the time as there is no margin for error."

Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima said the circuit was hugely challenging.

"It's a very tough track, hot and bumpy, probably the bumpiest track surface we encounter all season," he said.

"As a consequence, I think it will be a pretty demanding race."

His thoughts were echoed by Sebastian Vettel, who won his first ever Grand Prix in Italy earlier this month.

"Visibility is not a problem. Some places are darker than others and it's good fun," said the Toro Rosso driver of hurtling round the circuit under lights.

"The track is very difficult, but unfortunately the surface is very bumpy which does not make life easy. It is tough and demanding for both car and driver." - Sapa-AFP

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