Time apart makes the heart grow fonder; so the saying goes. Two weeks off combined with a virtual tie between our front runners has us anxious for the Grand Prix at Singapore. I think its high-time we break down the 8-year-old circuit.
Most can’t locate Singapore on a map, but that doesn’t matter if you can speak eloquently about this 5km circuit. “Geography shmeography,” I say.
Let’s start with a bit of background. The Singapore GP is the first race to be held at night in F1 history. The circuit is held on city streets in the Marina Bay area and can comfortably hold 80,000 spectators. Add in the skyline as a backdrop and you have the makings of a completely out-of-this-world event. Straight up, this circuit is like Obi-Wan and Annakin on Coruscant.
No seriously, look at this backdrop.
This circuit is tricky. It boasts 23 corners tightly outlined by cement barriers. The tight nature of the course stresses a good qualifying, though drivers should expect multiple safety cars. The walls are close, man.
The start line leads directly into a pseudo-chicane for corners 1, 2, and 3. As per usual, a clean exit here is important as it sets drivers up for a run through Raffles Boulevard.
Raffles, as no one calls it, is a long section through corners 5, 6, and 7. This section is bumpy, and according to Hamilton, requires more effort than the tight circuit of Monaco. Look for sparks and overly-stressed frames here.
After turn 6, drivers won’t see a sweeping turn again until turn 15. All corners in between are tricky, tight, and technical. With not much space to move about, Singapore won’t be kind to those starting behind P1.
Corners 16 through 21 will be sure to test the braking power and acceleration of our drivers and their cars. Brake late. On the gas early. Exciting and stressful. This course certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.
Finally, corners 22 and 23 offer a cheeky double-apex that exits out to the finish line straight. Pilots will have a moment to breathe as they roll on the throttle exiting 23.
Speeds here are slow due to the technical nature of the circuit, though pilots will tell you otherwise. Have you driven that fast on walled, narrow streets before? Daniel Ricciardo holds the current course record of 1:50.041, with Vettel holding the previous course permutation record.
Can the Aussie podium? Will Vettel win again? Will Mercedes fail to podium again? So many questions with only time as a road block.