Prixview – Singapore Grand Prix

Prixview Testing & Race Reports

Round fourteen sees Formula One head to the city-state of Singapore for the first of two races in East Asia. Singapore first Grand Prix was held at Thompson Road during the 1960’s, its first year of independence saw it hold both the Singapore and Malaysian Grand Prix’s in 1966.

For ten years between 1962-72, the race was a non-championship round held not far from where the current Marina Bay Circuit is. Thomson Road is still there, but the race circuit is long gone. The first Singapore Grand Prix was a sixty lap race, as it is today, but for both cars and motorbikes. The first Grand Prix was won by Lotus, before being renamed the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Singapore made two bits of history ten years ago, the race starts at 12:10 GMT making it’s the first ever night race and that race was controversial as Nelson Piquet Jr crashed out allowing Fernando Alonso to win. The night race has since become one of the sports crown jewels, and give the drivers there the biggest challenge of the year.

Marina Bay places a huge mental and physical pressure on the drivers, the humidity means drivers battle, not just the cars, but themselves. This can also lead to accidents and safety cars, making the race the longest of the year running well up to the two-hour time limit.

The reason Singapore was created as a night race was to allow viewers in Europe and America to view the race as normal. However, this year the race has not moved to the normal 13:10 GMT, which is the new European time it has stuck on the old time

Marina Bay is a high downforce and high-speed circuit as drivers battle through the figure of eight streets. The only piece of the circuit which is permanent is the start/finish straight and the pit lane. This means that the circuit shows rapid improvement throughout the weekend.

One of the challenges in Singapore is the set up of the car, FP1 takes place in the daytime meaning that gives the teams extra pressure to get most set up work done in the second practice session. Many drivers push hard to find the limits, however, the start of last year’s race saw Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen slide into each other at Turn One.

While Malaysia has seen many wet races, last year’s race was the first wet race in Singapore. Sebastian Vettel has four wins making him the most successful driver, while Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes are tied on three wins each. With one of Ferrari’s wins being a Formula Libre race in 1970. The only other teams to win has been McLaren with two wins in 1969 and 2010, with Renault having one win in 2008.

Facts and figures

Race 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix
Venue Marina Bay Street Circuit, Marina Bay, Singapore
Circuit Length 5.065km (3.147 mi)
Laps 61
Race Distance 308.828km (191.897 mi)
Lap Record 01:45.008 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2017)
Most wins drivers Sebastian Vettel (4)
Most wins manufacture Mercedes

Ferrari (3)

Red Bull

Fast facts

  • Singapore is the only country to host two different national Grand Prix’s. Singapore was part of Malaysia between 1963 and 1965, before becoming an independent country. It held both Grand Prix’s in 1965 the year it gained independence.
  • Earlier this year the pit lane and media centre was used as the base for the media during the
  • The Red on the flag symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of man while white signifies purity and virtue. The crescent moon represents a young nation on the rise and the five stars signify the ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
  • Approximately 1600 custom-made floodlights are spread around the 5.075km Marina Bay circuit. The lights, four times brighter than at a regular sports stadium, are specially designed to minimize glare and surface reflection and to meet F1’s TV broadcasting standards
  • There has been at least one Safety Car period in every F1 Singapore Grand Prix. It’s something that teams factor into their race strategies.

Event timetable

Session Local BST
Friday
P1 16:30-18:00 09:30-11:00
P2 20:30-22:00 13:30-15:30
Saturday
P3 18:00-19:00 11:00-12:00
Qualifying  21:00-22:00 14:00-15:00
Sunday
Race 20:10 13:10

What happened in 2017?

Lewis Hamilton took the lead from fifth on the grid, following a pile-up between the Ferrari’s and Red Bulls Max Verstappen crashed out going into the first corner. Mercedes had struggled all weekend to match the Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s but the accident moved them into a position to control the race from the very start.

Raikkonen got alongside the German who defended him off as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen made contact with his rear, sending him spinning into Vettel, taking all three out of the race. The accident also created huge opportunities for the midfield, a battle unfolded between Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Jolyon Palmer. This was aided by the retirement of Nico Hulkenberg with a hydraulics issue

What to watch for?

Singapore is a very challenging race for the drivers, the humidity is their biggest challenge as that affects concentration. This race often runs to the two-hour mark, as drivers often make mistakes and crash the cars into the wall. A safety car has featured in every race in Marina Bay.

The streets of Singapore are wide enough for overtaking, we have seen great action in sector two and drivers best opportunities are at the cross point the ninety degree Stamford and Connaught corners as well as the run between five, six and Memorial corners. But the current aero regulations have made following more difficult, however we have seen lap times reduce dramatically in recent years.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

  P1 Fastest P2 Fastest P3 Fastest Q1 Fastest Q2 Fastest Q3 Fastest Race Time Fastest Lap
2017* 01:41.829 01:40.852 01:42.489 01:42.010 01:40.332 01:39.491 02:03:23.554 01:45.008
Diff -3.994 -3.300 -1.836 -2.245 -2.688 -3.093 -07:25.351 -2.179
2016 01:45.823 01:44.152 01:44.352 01:44.255 01:43.020 01:42.584 01:55:48.905 01:47.187

*NOTE – run only to 58 laps

A lap of Marina Bay 

Sebastian Vettel comes out of the final corner takes kerb as he runs along the outside of circuit before going to the centre of the track and back to the outside before breaking into Turn One. Hits the apex before going across for Turn Two nicely into Three. He then runs to the outside before opening up the car and breaking for Five. He takes that by running to the apex then to the outside, he opens up the car backs off a little in Six.

Breaks  100m before Seven, runs along the kerb then hits the apex and goes to the outside. Crosses the track before breaking into Eight at 77kph, then runs to the outside re crosses the track before running through Nine going back to the outside. Goes to the centre and back to the outside for Ten, takes it well as well as Elven and Twelve across the bridge. Then breaks into Thirteen, before opening up the car going to the outside.

Breaks into Fourteen from the inside go across hits the apex, before going to the inside. He had little oversteer moment there going towards Fifteen before breaking into Sixteen hits apex and goes through to Seventeen. Goes to the outside before breaking and going under the grandstand. Opens the car up on exit, runs along the inside before breaking into Twenty One. Nicely through twenty two stays on the outside through twenty-three crosses the line with a 1:39.491

Tyres

Driver

Team Hypersofts Ultrasofts Softs

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 6 4 3

V. Bottas

6

4

3

S. Vettel

Ferrari

9

3 1

K. Raikkonen

9 3 1

D. Ricciardo

Red Bull – Tag Heuer 7 3 3
M. Verstappen 7 3

3

S. Perez

Force India – Mercedes 9 2 2
E. Ocon 9 2

2

S. Sirotkin

Williams – Mercedes 7 5 2

L. Stroll

7

4

1

F. Alonso

McLaren – Renault 8 2 3
S. Vandoorne

8

2 3

P. Gasly

Toro Rosso –Honda 8 4 1
B. Hartley 8 4

1

R. Grosjean

Haas – Ferrari 9 2 2
K. Magnussen 9 3

1

N. Hulkenberg

Renault 8 2 3
C. Sainz 8 2

3

M. Ericsson

Sauber – Alfa Romeo 8 3 2
C. Leclerc 8 2

3

 

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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