Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay
22 September, 1pm GMT
Live on Sky Sports F1, highlights on BBC
First Grand Prix: 2008
Track length: 5.073 km
Number of laps: 61
Lap record: 1:45.599 – Kimi Raikkonen (2008)
Bernie Ecclestone must have giggled like a loon when the first Singapore Grand Prix went off without a hitch. A profitable new market set in a dramatic street circuit, at night, live at a time convenient for the majority of Formula 1 broadcasters. How did this didn’t happy before?
The powerful floodlights (four times brighter than a football stadium) and twinkling cityscape has made for a television feast to rival the other great Formula 1 street circuit Monaco.
It’s not wone everybody round however. Felipe Massa criticised the vicious kerbs, calling them “little tortoises that would wreck the car if you get something wrong,” and the bumpy, twisty track makes overtaking notoriously difficult.
However, as an event there really is nothing else like it, and the paddock has quickly embraced the theatre of Singapore. The grandstands are surprisingly close to the action for a modern circuit, creating a valley of fans as drivers smash through the start-finish straight.
Lewis Hamilton’s retirement in 2012 was a decisive moment in the drivers’ championship, allowing Sebastian Vettel to cruise to victory. The run began in Singapore eventually led to Vettel regaining the drivers’ championship in Brazil a month later.
No other new circuit has quite captured the imagination in the way Singapore has, and its hugely ambitious project has more than paid off for both Formula 1 bosses and racing fans.
2012 memory: A happy but knackered Sebastian Vettel paying tribute to Formula 1 safety pioneer and neurosurgeon Professor Sid Watkins.
2012: Sebastian Vettel
2011: Sebastian Vettel
2010: Fernando Alonso
2009: Lewis Hamilton
2008: Fernando Alonso