Scuderia Ferrari’s talented young star, Charles Leclerc stormed to pole position in yesterday’s qualifying session for the 2019 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, securing his fifth career first starting position. The Monegasque’s performance left his rivals shocked as his third successive pole position came at a track which hardly suits the characteristics of Ferrari’s SF90.
Slowly a fixture – Singapore is slowly establishing itself as a fixture on the calendar. The event joined the calendar in 2008 and has been an ever-present since. Today’s race will be the 12th Formula One Singapore Grand Prix.
The fast Dane – The record for the fastest ever race lap is held by Kevin Magnussen. The Dane went fastest with a lap time of 1m41.905 in last year’s race. The fastest ever lap was recorded by Lewis Hamilton who clocked in a 1m36.015 to take pole position for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix.
Long track – The Marina Bay Circuit is the track with the most corners. The 5.063km circuit consists of 23 corners. Drivers have to complete 61 laps to cover the entire race distance of 308.706km.
The dominant team - Mercedes is the most successful constructor in Singapore with four victories of which three were clinched by Lewis Hamilton and the fourth one by Nico Rosberg. With three triumphs, Red Bull is second on this list followed by Ferrari with two wins.
German and British success - Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are neck on neck when it comes to wins earned in the Singapore Grand Prix history. Both men have won on four occasions which makes them the most successful drivers around the tricky street circuit. Fernando Alonso is the only other repeat winner in Singapore. He took the victory in the first ever Formula One Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 in controversial conditions. Driving at Ferrari, the Spaniard claimed his second victory on the Marina Bay Circuit in 2010 following an epic battle with Sebastian Vettel.
The American – Alexander Rossi is the only driver who made his race debut at Singapore. The current IndyCar driver debuted in Formula One at the Marina Bay Circuit at the end of the 2015 driving for Manor-Marussia.
The Stewards – The group of the three international race stewards consists of Tim Mayer, Enzo Spano and Mika Salo. They are joined by Nish Shetty, the national steward.
Changes to the track - Five domed kerb sections of a height of 50mm have been installed approximately 1.5m from the track edge behind the exit of Turn 7. Furthermore, the track has been resurfaced in various sections including the entire pitlane which has been ground back and resurfaced.
Overtaking aid - There will be three DRS zones in Singapore. The first detection point will be at the exit of T4 and the first activation point will be 53m after T5. The second detection point will be 102m before T13 with activation 78m after T13. The third detection point will be 180m before the apex of T22, and the activation point will be 48m after apex of T23.
Vettel at both ends - The smallest winning margin in Singapore F1 Grand Prix history came in 2010 when Alonso beat Vettel by just 0.239s. Coincidentally the biggest winning margin at the venue involved the same two drivers and came in 2013 when Vettel finished 32.627s ahead of Alonso.
Artificially lit – Singapore became the first ever night race of Formula One. The late starting time was chosen to accommodate to the time zone difference between Western countries and Singapore. Although many doubted the success of the event and some feared that visibility would make driving dangerous, it has never become a problem. Fitted along the track are 1,600 lighting projectors, each consisting of a projector with internal reflectors that project the light beams at different angles to prevent it from blinding the drivers. As a result, the track is 4 times more brightly lit than a stadium.
Huge preparation – As the Singapore Grand Prix is a street cicuit, organizers have to commence their preparations long before the event kick off. To withstand high speeds generated by the Formula One cars, the manholes at the Marina Bay Street Circuit have to be welded shut before each race.
Very high – Since 2014, the safety car or the virtual safety car was deployed at least once in every race. Their deployment could have huge influence on race strategies as pitting in normal conditions takes 27 seconds while that time drops to only 16 seconds under safety car or virtual safety car conditions.
Track position is vital – Starting from the first row is usually key around the tricky layout of the Marina Bay Circuit. Eight of the eleven races have been won by the driver starting from the pole position. On the three other occasions when other than the pole-sitter won at Singapore, some kind of an incident happened to the fastest driver of the qualifying session. In 2008, Felipe Massa was robbed the victory after his team released him from the tyre change with the fuel hose attached. In 2012, Lewis Hamilton retired with a gearbox issue while leading. In 2017, Sebastian Vettel was involved in a first corner incident with Kimi Räikkönen and Max Verstappen which ended the race for all of them.
Not a serious issue – Fuel Usage is less of an issue around Singapore. In 2018, the driver who completed the full race distance with the least amount of fuel needed 97.5kg while the thirstiest car used up 104.4kg of fuel.