200mph in the dark – Singapore #F1 GP weekend

The Singapore F1 Grand Prix is different. Very different. It is the only race on the Formula One calendar that is run at night. 8pm, when everything is pitch black 1500 lamps are turned on around the 5KM Marina Bay circuit and the roar of an F1 race begins. The lights are as bright as daylight – around four times brighter than football floodlights. It is also the only anti-clockwise circuit of the year and the longest race – held in high heat and humidity. So it is one of the hardest tests for the drivers.

There was a race in Singapore back in 1961, which lasted until 1973, but this night-track has only been used since the Singapore GP was brought back in 2008. 25,000 people are involved in putting on the Singapore spectacle, planning for which starts only a month after the end of the previous year’s race.

So who is going to win? Vettel and Red Bull were fastest in both practice sessions, but McLaren’s Hamilton and Button kept them company at the top of the time sheets. Vettel won last year, but the McLaren is looking the car to beat and smart money would probably back one of the Englishmen to take the checkered flag tomorrow.

Debate is ongoing as to whether the Singapore GP will remain when the first five year contract is up. It has a glamour that is missing from many of the other new circuits, but it hogs a major part of the city for days and Singapore may wish to renegotiate the contract. The drivers and teams love the event though

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