Singapore’s street race under night lights has been a dazzling addition to the calendar though the track is more a test of endurance than skill.
It boasts 23 turns which are almost all slow and the majority of them are right-angled. Like Baku, Sochi and – of course – Monaco, this is more a tour bus route than a track.
That isn’t to say it can’t catch drivers out. The combination of frequent bumps and braking zones, unforgiving walls and energy-sapping humidity make this one of the toughest races on the calendar along with Malaysia. And for the first time this year drivers will have to contend with both those races within two weeks of each other.
A lap of Singapore
Track data: Singapore
|5.065km (3.147 miles)
|Grand prix distance
|308.965km (191.982 miles)
|Lap record (race)
|1’50.041 (Daniel Ricciardo, 2016)
|Fastest lap (any session)
|1’43.885 (Sebastian Vettel, 2016, qualifying three)
|See drivers’ choices
|2015 Rate the Race
|6.55 out of 10
|2015 Driver of the Weekend
Pirelli have brought their ultra-soft compound for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. Drivers previously found the super-soft tended to wilt at the end of Singapore’s five kilometre lap, so we could see some very slow build-up laps and the possibility of drivers catching traffic in the final sector.
It’s easy to over-commit to the opening sequence of corners, particularly at the start of the race, where we have seen an increasingly tough line being taken on track limits. From the right-angled turn one the drivers file through the simple turn two right-hander into a slow hairpin.
Getting the power down out of this corner is tricky, says Romain Grosjean, but vital as the cars build up to one of the quickest parts of the track here. Turn four is a kink, beyond which the open turn five leads onto the run towards one of the few named corners on the track. Turn seven: Memorial corner.
The second DRS zone after the start/finish line is positioned here, making it the most obvious place for overtaking. The track narrows after turn seven, however, and here too it is easy for drivers to trespass beyond track limits, especially while jockeying for position.
The cars dodge through another pair of right-angled turn and on to another at the former site of the awkward Singapore Sling chicane. The unpopular trip across the bumps is now gone, though the track remains very narrow at the exit.
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Singapore had another one of its minor makeovers last year. The next section of track was reconfigured, taking drivers across the other side of the Andersen Bridge to what was used previously. The result is a straighter run towards a sharp left-hand hairpin.
“It’s pretty tricky going under the bridge,” explains Grosjean. “There’s a bit of a bump, tricky braking at the end before that left hairpin. On the back straight it’s important to get good traction.”
The revised corner didn’t produce much notable action last year, except for when an inebriated spectator wandered onto the track nearby, bringing out the Safety Car.
The right-angled turns come thick and fast in the final section of the lap. At turn 18 the track swerves beneath a spectator enclosure and the barrier on the right has caught out many drivers in the past. After turn 21 – “lots of inside kerb”, notes Grosjean – the drivers end the lap with two of the circuit’s few quick corners.
Over to you
Is Singapore one of F1’s better street circuits? What do you like about this race? And have you ever been to it?
Have your say in the comments.
2016 Singapore Grand Prix
- Narrow Singapore Driver of the Weekend win for Rosberg
- Singapore Grand Prix gets second-highest rating
- 2016 Singapore Grand Prix Predictions Championship results
- 2016 Singapore Grand Prix team radio transcript
- Top ten pictures from the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix