Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella made history as the first F1 driver to drive the stunning new Marina Bay street circuit in the island nation of Singapore . Taking to the track for the opening practice session - run under the glare of thousands of floodlights lining the sides of the circuit - the Italian also became the first driver to run during the hours of darkness.
The 5.067km circuit was given a resounding thumbs up by Giancarlo and team-mate Adrian Sutil. Although extremely bumpy and initially very 'green', the challenge of the 23-turn course proved an exciting one for the duo. Giancarlo and Adrian completed 25 and 24 laps respectively in the opening practice to maximise mileage on the new track and evaluate set-up and tyre options for the weekend. Unfortunately Giancarlo's learning curve was then halted early on in the second session with a gearbox problem, which only allowed him to complete 12 laps.
A final one hour practice session will take place at 19:00hrs tomorrow evening before qualifying begins at 22:00hrs.
Adrian Sutil: "It's a really beautiful circuit here and a great place to visit. It's a very physical track as the humidity is so high - it's very much like Malaysia in that respect.There were also several bumps, probably more than at any other circuit, and sometimes it actually hurt when I was driving, particularly my legs as they crashed into the monocoque over some bumps. The whole race will be really hard. There's not very much room for error here, the walls are very close so you need to be very careful not to get too much oversteer on the exit. I really enjoyed it today."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I feel very positive about the new circuit. It is very challenging and difficult to learn and especially to feel confident. It's a very physical circuit, very twisty, and it's hot and humid so I think it will be tough on Sunday. It's interesting to run at night. It doesn't make that much difference for us to be honest on the track, but it's a different routine and having a free morning and then practice at 7pm was really good. Today was generally OK, apart from the gearbox problem we had on the first run in the second session, but not too bad a start for the weekend."
Mike Gascoyne, chief technical officer: "Congratulations to the circuit and the city for putting on such a fantastic venue. It was a very interesting first day. Obviously the circuit was new and dirty but rubbered in during the day. The drivers had no real problems in the first session, but unfortunately Giancarlo's car developed a gearbox problem in the second practice and he had to stop early. Adrian was able to complete his full programme of tyre and set-up evaluation and overall we have lots of data for tomorrow."