20 September 2015, Singapore
The 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix weekend closed with a bang with a spectacular performance both on and off the track. The Marina Bay Street Circuit welcomed 260,912 spectators over the three-day weekend, with thousands joining in the podium celebrations along the Pit Straight as Sebastian Vettel took home the trophy for his fourth Singapore victory of his career on Sunday.
Vettel, a three-time winner in Singapore with Red Bull, coped with two Safety Car periods and sustained pressure from Red Bull Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo to take his third victory in his first year with Scuderia Ferrari.
‘It was pretty intense,’ said an elated Vettel. ‘There was a bit of a breather with the Safety Car, but there was still a lot of pressure from behind. That made it a bit tactical towards the end, but I was able to look after my tyres and control the pace. But it was a great day, we had a great weekend.’
Ricciardo lived up to his pre-race promise of a strong showing on the Singapore streets when he took his second podium of 2015 in second place, with the Ferrari Kimi Raikkonen third – and not a Mercedes in sight.
‘It’s good to back it up,’ said Ricciardo. ‘I’m always careful not to be over-confident but I think the pace we showed all weekend was strong. The race pace was good: I think we matched Seb, so we’ve got to be pretty happy with this weekend.’ To confirm Ricciardo’s feeling, he set the fastest lap of 1 min 50.041 secs, an average of 165.701 kilometres per hour, on the last lap of the race.
World Champion Lewis Hamilton started from the third row but was never an actor in the Singapore drama, retiring after 33 of the 61 laps as his Mercedes-Benz’s engine lost power.
‘It hasn’t been our weekend as a team,’ admitted Hamilton, ‘but sometimes that happens.’
Teammate Nico Rosberg did make it to the finish in fourth place, carving 12 points out of Hamilton’s lead, but the 30-year-old German will now also be looking behind him since Vettel’s victory puts him only eight points behind Rosberg with six races remaining.
Nevertheless, this position didn’t dampen his mood at the Singapore event. ‘Singapore is definitely one of the highlights of the year,’ said the 30-year-old German, winner of three races in 2015 so far.
‘There’s an amazing atmosphere and the whole city really comes to life for the race weekend. It’s just unreal – I would really recommend anybody to come because it’s a fantastic experience. The circuit, the city, the atmosphere – everything!’
The electric atmosphere continued over at the Padang, where 60,000 spectators thronged the Padang to catch the closing concert by American rock band Bon Jovi. The race weekend also saw equally spectacular performances from Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5, Spandau Ballet and Jimmy Cliff throughout the race weekend.
Drivers and media alike are united in their view of the Singapore success story. ‘As an event, it is almost unsurpassed. It has quickly become one of the best on the calendar,’ according to London’s Daily Telegraph.
According to the New York Times, this sustained interest reflects Singapore’s determination to live up to the standards the event set in its inaugural year.
‘When it became the first night race in the series,’ the newspaper wrote, ‘Singapore fulfilled its promise: The cars looked great under the floodlights, the city street circuit was dynamic, and its backdrop, a mixture of modern and colonial architecture, was a stunning visual success on television.’
With the home of Formula 1® night racing at its heart, the event also brings top-class supporting categories and a host of top-flight entertainers both international and local to its annual street party.
As Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez points out, ‘It’s the overall experience that makes it special.’
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Credit: Singapore GP Pte Ltd
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