The Marina Bay Circuit holds one of Formula 1’s most spectacular weekends as the cars glisten under the streetlights in Singapore, the home of the sport’s original night race.
|FIRST F1 RACE||2008|
|TRACK LENGTH||3.152 miles|
|NUMBER OF LAPS||61|
|NUMBER OF TURNS||23|
|MOST POLES||Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton (4)|
|MOST WINS||Sebastian Vettel (5)|
Singapore was one of two new street tracks introduced as part of the 2008 Formula One season. Whereas Valencia was ditched from the calendar after the 2012 event, Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore remains on the calendar and the challenge of competing here is much loved by drivers, teams and fans alike. The 23-turn track was originally designed by Herman Tilke before being modified by KBR Inc., an American engineering company. The area of land which the circuit occupies is 799,000 square metres, which is the equivalent of 80 football pitches.
The Marina Bay Circuit passes by many of Singapore’s landmarks such as the Fullerton Hotel, the Anderson Bridge and, of course, the striking Singapore Flyer which opened in the same year as the first Grand Prix here. The track has numerous unique features, including the fact that it is the only track which goes under a section of grandstand – between Turns 18 and 19. The corners are referred to by number here, though some do have names. Turn 1 is named ‘Sheares’ and Turn 7 is named ‘Memorial’. The names were given to the corners as part of a local competition in March 2009, but they are rarely used.
There have been minor changes to the track since Formula 1 was first in Singapore in 2008. One of the most compelling elements of the track was the ‘Singapore Sling’. In the early years of the Singapore Grand Prix, Turn 10 comprised a section of track which was fast, narrow and unforgiving. Kimi Raikkonen crashed during the inaugural race here at this part of the track. In 2009, the kerbing was reduced so the corner became less of a challenge, however Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi fell victim to the chicane in later years. In 2013 the section of track was re-profiled entirely and the Marina Bay Circuit lost one of the iconic sections of its layout. For 2015, there were also minor changes between Turns 11 and 13, which saw the drivers use the other side of the Anderson Bridge.
The Marina Bay Circuit holds a contract to hold the Singapore Grand Prix until 2021. The 2020 Singapore Grand Prix was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Singapore Tourism Board remains open to the idea of completely relocating the track to elsewhere in the city in the future.
- Every single running of the Singapore Grand Prix has featured a Safety Car at some point in the race.
- After the first practice session here in 2008, the kerbs had to be reduced in size due to safety concerns. Felipe Massa likened them them to ‘small tortoises’.
- The 2015 Singapore Grand Prix was placed under Safety Car conditions on Lap 37 due to a British spectator making their way on to the track. The man, who was 27, was later arrested.
- With 23 corners, the track has the most turns of any circuit on the current calendar. It is questionable, however, how many of these bends can be classed as real corners.
- The race often runs near to the two-hour time limit due to the length of the track, as well as the high likelihood of a Safety Car appearance.
- The 2008 Grand Prix here was one of the most controversial Formula 1 races ever held. A year after the event, Nelson Piquet Jnr. revealed that he was told to crash on purpose in order to help his team-mate, Fernando Alonso, take the win.
- 108,423 metres of power cables supply over three million watts of lighting.
- An electrical current runs underneath the section of track at the Anderson Bridge. This current sometimes has an effect on the cars. In 2015, both Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa were forced into retirement from the Grand Prix because of such issues.
- Members of the Formula 1 paddock stay on European time whilst they are in Singapore. They sleep through the day so their schedule is the same as it is for European races – just with a slightly different backdrop!
- 2,608 concrete barriers line the track along with 10,000 metres of catch fencing.
- The track runs anti-clockwise.
- 2015 was the longest race here, clocking in at two hours, one minute and twenty two seconds, while the shortest was in 2009 at one hour, fifty six minutes and six seconds.
- As it is not a permanent race track, it is often difficult for the drivers to find grip here – especially on the first day of practice.
- Cockpit temperatures soar to 60 degrees Celsius during the Grand Prix.
- The drivers lose three to four kilograms of weight in the race and around two to three litres in sweat, so it is the worst possible time for a drinks bottle failure during the Grand Prix. That didn’t stop Sebastian Vettel on his way to victory in 2015, though.
- The drivers will make, on average, 4,880 gear changes over the duration of the Grand Prix.
- Alex Wurz drove the medical car in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix after the usual driver fell ill. As he and Gary Hartstein rushed to the scene of Piquet Jnr.’s accident, a second local doctor in the back seat couldn’t handle the speed of the car and threw up en-route.
2019 SINGAPORE GP RECAP
Charles Leclerc took a third consecutive pole position, but it was Sebastian Vettel who took a record-breaking fifth Singapore Grand Prix victory.
Charles Leclerc dominated in qualifying, securing a third consecutive pole position and starting alongside Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton came under pressure from Sebastian Vettel on the first lap, but was able to stay ahead. Further back, Carlos Sainz picked up a puncture following contact with Nico Hulkenberg. Vettel and Max Verstappen were first of the front runners to pit, with Leclerc pitting from the lead on the next lap. But Vettel’s pace advantage saw him pull off the undercut, much to Leclerc’s dismay. As the two Mercedes pitted, Antonio Giovinazzi found himself in the lead of the race for Alfa Romeo, but Vettel soon found a way past the Italian. Another Renault made contact, this time Daniel Ricciardo on former race leader Giovinazzi. The Australian picked up a puncture as a result. The Safety Car came out following contact between Romain Grosjean and George Russell, with the Williams driver recording the first retirement of his career. Lance Stroll picked up a puncture after the restart, while Sergio Perez pulled off in the other Racing Point after being ordered to stop by the team. Kimi Raikkonen was then forced out of the race following a collision with Daniil Kvayt, bringing out the Safety Car once more. Vettel was unphased by the restarts, keeping his cool to claim his first win of the season. Leclerc and Verstappen completed the podium, while Kevin Magnussen picked up the Fastest Lap at the event for the second year in a row.
2018 SINGAPORE GP RECAP
Lewis Hamilton was unstoppable in Singapore in 2018 as he took the pole and won dominantly, further extending his championship lead.
A mistake in Free Practice Two saw Sebastian Vettel scraping the wall and put him on the back foot for the rest of the weekend. Lewis Hamilton took pole with what Toto Wolff described as one of the best laps he’d ever seen. Verstappen lined up alongside Hamilton on the front row, but was challenged on the first lap by Sebastian Vettel. The pair avoided contact at the first corner, and Vettel made it by later on in the lap. The Ferrari driver’s move was well-timed, as it came seconds before a Safety Car was called due to the two Force India drivers colliding with one another. Esteban Ocon was out of the race. Vettel opted to pit first but Verstappen would re-pass him as a result, Verstappen emerging on the harder compound of tyre. The remaining Force India continued causing damage out on track, picking up a puncture after a questionable defensive move on Sergey Sirotkin. As Sirotkin got into his next battle, this time with Romain Grosjean, the pair got in the way of race leader Hamilton, who they were being lapped by. This allowed Verstappen to close up to the back of the Mercedes, but there was no way by for the Red Bull. Grosjean was handed a five second penalty for ignoring blue flags, while Sirotkin picked up a penalty for forcing Brendon Hartley off the track. Hamilton won comfortably ahead of Verstappen as Vettel finished third.
SINGAPORE GP WINNERS AND POLESITTERS
|Year||Polesitter||Team On Pole||Winner||Winning Team|
|2008||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||Fernando Alonso||Renault|
|2009||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren|
|2010||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari|
|2011||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull|
|2012||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull|
|2013||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull|
|2014||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|2015||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari|
|2016||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes|
|2017||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|2018||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes|
|2019||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari|