Described by former Williams driver David Coulthard as a ‘modern day classic’, the Singapore Grand Prix has its place firmly etched on the F1 calendar – despite this being only the seventh edition of the race. The spectacular city state gives the race a colourful backdrop, made all the more glamorous by the darkness that comes with this being F1’s original night race. The drivers and teams have got used to the nocturnal routine of the race weekend, and the heat and humidity remain as arduous as ever. The drivers lose up to three kilos in sweat during the race, as they do in the Malaysian Grand Prix just across the border, and the race’s propensity for Safety Car periods makes it one of the longest of the season. The bumpy track surface and the stop-start nature of the 3.147-mile layout make traction and braking stability crucial to lap time. Unlike other street tracks, overtaking is possible, but it requires bravery and pin-point accuracy from the driver making the move.
Singapore is a night race and even though that brings certain challenges for those who work there, it offers a great spectacle for Formula 1. The track has a few issues that we have to work around, such as the lack of grip that on a normal track would improve, but here doesn’t. This results in a lot of wheel spin and oversteer which affects the balance of the car. The main focus for the team is the Constructors’ Championship now and we have to establish ourselves in third position, which we regained from Ferrari in Monza.
The Singapore race is fantastic, but also exceptionally difficult. The temperatures are so high and the humidity really affects the drivers physically. The track is similar to Monaco but almost twice the length which adds to the challenge. Staying on European time helps with it being a night race, but it’s still a bit strange going to bed at 3am. I really enjoy the race and hope to carry the success we had in Monza into the remaining races of the season.
I’m looking forward to Singapore, it’s a very special race – the setting there is really cool, the track is very challenging and there’s no room for mistakes. It’s a night race but the lights are very bright so it doesn’t make a big difference to drive, everything just looks awesome which is great for the fans and builds the atmosphere. The race is long. Normally it goes up to two hours, so it’s a challenge for the cars with tyre degradation, and for the drivers physically it will be probably the toughest race of the season due to the heat and humidity. Singapore could be a little more difficult for us compared to Monza, but we have some aero upgrades which should give us more downforce. We go there hoping to fight with Ferrari and Red Bull but we know Mercedes will be very strong.