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Marina Bay Street Circuit

Formula 1 circuit

Marina Bay Street Circuit
Credit: Mercedes
Vital statistics for Marina Bay Street Circuit
CircuitMarina Bay Street Circuit
Race debut2008
Results for the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix
Pole positionSebastian Vettel
Race winnerLewis Hamilton
Fastest lapLewis Hamilton

The Singapore Grand Prix has become a rival to Monaco for the glitzier side of motorsport, and as F1's only official full night race, it creates a unique image. Under brighter-than-day floodlighting, drivers face a sprawling city challenge, with a hefty number of corners - more than twenty. The tight corners are offset by the unusually wide track, hoping to increase the overtaking potential that can often be missing on a street circuit.

F1 history

When the Singapore Grand Prix first arrived in Formula One, it did so with a huge splash. The first race in 2008 was F1’s inaugural night race, a tour round the city streets of Singapore under the brighter-than-day floodlighting - it was quite the spectacle. The cars looked brighter, the track sparkled, and there were plenty of good photo opportunities, with cars throwing up sparks, and drivers choosing brighter visors.

Despite the glamorous side of the race, however, there hasn't always been a lot of overtaking to make the Grand Prix live up to its potential. As a long track with a lot of corners, the racing struggles with field spread - cars getting so far apart from each other that any interaction at all, let alone overtaking, is almost impossible.

The track is unusually wide for a street circuit, but there are too many turns and not enough straights to make good racing a possibility. The barriers are close, presenting the challenge of concentration, just like at Monaco, and the heat can also present another aspect to take into account.

The race is run in an anti-clockwise direction, and the lap begins with a tricky complex of corners that gradually widen up and lead to a faster section. The longest straight is next, leading to Memorial Corner - a section of track named by competition-winning fans, and further round to the Singapore Sling chicane. The track gets very bumpy, the sparks fly, and real damage can be done to the cars if drivers aren’t careful.

Into the final sector, the walls start to close in again, as drivers weave back and forth through the streets to find the start/finish straight once more. With such a twisting track, the only way to keep the pack together is using the safety car, which does often make an appearance around the Marina Bay circuit.

Where the race really holds its own is in the unique challenges that it presents to drivers and teams. Hoping to be at their best in the evening rather than midday means making adjustments to the schedule. Rather than flying in to Singapore and switching to the same time zone as everyone else in the country, Formula One remains on European time.

Breakfast is at 3pm in the afternoon, the peak of racing fitness comes in the evening, whilst bedtime is in the early hours of the morning. Sleeping in is the name of the game, with many drivers using blackout blinds to keep the day at bay. The odd schedules can make for tired drivers, and mistakes can happen in the high pressure situation of a Grand Prix weekend.

Learn more about Singapore with the Pocket F1 Handbook.