F1 ready to rule Singapore streets

2019-09-18 06:01

AFTER the back-to-back stops in Belgium and Italy, Formula 1 heads off for the fly-away races, for which the first stop is the Far East Asian city state of Singapore.

The Marina Bay Circuit, first introduced in 2008, is famed for being the first night race on the F1 calendar. It hasn’t been without controversy with the most contentious incident being the 2008 Crashgate saga. Then Renault driver, Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered by Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds to deliberately crash in assistance of teammate Fernando Alonso.

Luckily, the Singapore Grand Prix and F1 has moved on from then to deliver several memorable races on the city streets of Singapore.

The 5.063km stretch around the harbour is comprised of a tapestry of 23 corners.

The proximity of the barriers combined with the relentless nature of corner-after-corner gives drivers little time to relax and demands persistent attentiveness and concentration in fairly extreme conditions of 80% humidity and more than 30ºC ambient temperatures.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel each have four wins in Singapore. It was Vettel’s win 2015, seemingly out of the blue, that stopped Mercedes’ domination, albeit momentarily.

Last year’s qualifying session saw Hamilton deliver, arguably, one of the most perfect qualifying laps of his career.

The lap may have been only three-tenths clear of second-placed Max Verstappen, but the way he danced the Silver Arrow around the twisting Singapore streets will live long in the memory.

Ferrari arrives on a tremendous high after winning in both Spa and Monza.

But they also arrive with the understanding that it will be a far greater task to take the top step of the podium.

Given the characteristics of the Ferrari and its struggle in low speed corners, it is almost inevitable that this weekend will be an uphill battle to beat either Red Bull or Mercedes.

The story this weekend isn’t expected to be all Ferrari and Mercedes though. There is every expectation that Red Bull will be solidly in the mix for top honours, especially in the form of Verstappen, who always excels on street tracks.

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