After the first day of the Singapore leg of the Forumla One races, I was beginning to better appreciate how these races work. It was no longer just pointlessly going round and round and be the fastest to the finish line. I got to know more about the names of the teams and the drivers that go along with them.
It was Day 2. And it was also the day for the qualifying race. The setup of the gates was quite funny since out gate was all the way at Fullerton Hotel. The point was to walk all the way from Fullerton Hotel to where our grandstand was, which is at the Esplanade Waterfront. That is quite a fair bit of walking. But it was something that I can handle. Being a night race, it won’t be as hot as walking that far in the searing heat of the tropics.
We finally got to see the rest of the track. There was a nice hairpin turn near the gate from which we entered. Since it was a hairpin, the cars would slow down considerably allowing spectators to get a good glimpse of the F1 cars. But i do wonder whether it was enough to get a good shot off.
After the hairpin there was a long straight stretch of track crossing the Esplanade bridge. Here the cars can go full speed, unfortunately for any spectators expecting to be able to get a good shot, they are simply too fast to be able to get good pictures. Unless, of course, you are the one of the lucky ones who own those professional quality lenses. The track then turns right at the Esplanade and right again towards our grandstand and towards the Singapore Flyer.
We walked all the way from the Fullerton Hotel to the Esplanade Grandstand, noting several spots that could be a great spot to take pictures. Unfortunately, most of these spots have already been taken, maybe it would have been better if the seats were a little higher so as to let the crowd get a getter view of the cars minus the fence.
The qualifying race is race that determines the positions of the cars for the actual race. It is composed of three races. Each of the cars tries to register the fastest lap. In the first race, the last five cars as assigned the spots 16-20. In the second race, the remaining fifteen cars race and the last five are assigned spots 11-15. The third and final race is a free for all among the remaining 10 cars, and their rankings will determine the final order of the cars in the actual race.
The crowd was composed mostly of Ferrari and McLaren fans. I would say that there were more Ferrari fans than McLaren fans. So I decided to root for Ferrari, just because of better name recall. As expected the familiar names of Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen of Ferrari started moving up the standings. Another familiar name is Lewis Hamilton of McLaren and Fernando Alonso of Renault.
This was just a simple race to be the fastest and these guys were really fast, registering lap times fractions of a second faster than the other. Clearly, every moment counts.
After three rounds it became a battle between the biggest names in F1 racing. Felipe Massa, Kimi Räikkönen and Lewis Hamilton were fighting tooth and nail to be the fastest. There were also accidents along the way as the car of Fernando Alonso of Renault broke down and was unable to complete the qualifying, this guaranteed him the last slot.
After the smoke cleared the victor emerged and it was Felipe Massa of Ferrari. This means a lot because of the nature of the track, it would be difficult to overtake. If you are first, you will have a huge advantage in the actual race. Lewis Hamilton was second and Kimi Räikkönen was third. While no doubt that there were a lot of Ferrari fans, there were quite a number of fans who cheered for Ferrari not because they like Ferrari but they like Lewis Hamilton even less.
After the race were went around the track grounds to see what else is there to see. There were a lot of shops selling F1 merchandise. There were also team merchandise being sold. The Ferrari and McLaren stores were mobbed by the fans. I did notice that the stuff they were selling was quite expensive. Since I’m not that big of a fan, I didn’t really buy any stuff from them. Hey, I already paid so much for the ticket!
Anyway, as I understood the rules of F1 racing more, I began to look forward the the actual race the next day. I’m sure it will be a titanic battle between Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton!