A modern street circuit that is loved by fans and has already seen great racing, after the disappointment of Valencia you may not have thought it was possible as most street circuits have failed to live up the expectations that they would be a new Monaco. Not that Singapore is a new Monaco but it is a great circuit and one with a great atmosphere. Malaysia, of which Singapore used to be a part and is still inextricably linked to, has more of a motor racing heritage than any Asian country barring Japan and the Malaysian Grand Prix was already established when the race went to Singapore in 2008, we have had four good races since then.
It is perhaps an achievement to have talked about Singapore this far and not mentioned the fact it is at night, that is because it is first and foremost a good circuit, the night time race doesn’t lead to better racing but does lead to a different atmosphere: literally electric as the track is lit up by fantastically bright floodlights that give the circuit an ethereal quality.
Amazingly you can overtake at Singapore, though also it is difficult enough that drivers have to take risks: that is what has happened in 2011 and 2010 at turn 7 with Hamilton who made mistakes both times, in 2010 putting him out of the race. As well as turn 7 though passes can be set up here and made into turn 8: in either case this section is a good place to watch especially seeing cars come along the long kinked straight into turn 7. The other overtaking point is turn 14 a slow right hander where late breakers can get ahead.
The drivers generally like the circuit but none are too keen on the double chicane that is turns 10, 11 and 12. A few cars have got airborne here. There is though little else that can be done here as there is no room to create a run off to allow it to be a fast left hander, you do get to see the cars here for a good few seconds each time they come round as a result though. There are more grandstands around the start and turns 17 and 18 than elsewhere though and turn 17 and 18 is a fast section that gives a good view of the cars going fast into tight but grippy corners.
In 2008 at the first Singapore Grand Prix we saw a great race, oblivious at the time as to what was going on and that Nelson Piquet’s crash that handed his teammate Alonso the win wasn’t just a coincidence. In 2011 we saw a dominate win for Vettel with Button the only one close, but things were more interesting down the field, especially in the vicinity of Hamilton and Massa who came together again.