There were much more people here at the Formula One Grand Prix here in Singapore. I don’t see any empty seat at the Esplanada Waterfront Grandstand where I was seated. Who could blame them? This the race we’ve all been waiting for. Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton will be fighting it out the finish. Hamilton currently leads the standings, the winner of the race will get 10 points while the runner up will get 8 points, second runner up will get 6 points.
You can feel the electricity in the air as the Formula One cars start the traditional parade for the fans. Every time a car drives by the crowd would get to their feet and applaud their favorite team. I’m surprised people would actually stand up and do that. If you want to see what’s going on you’d have to stand up yourself.
The race started predictably with Felipe Massa starting out strong, followed closely by Lewis Hamilton. It was amazing to see the cars go by our grandstand one after the other. The engine roar was deafening. I didn’t both buying earplugs since the sound was part of the experience. The drivers kept their positions for a while until they started to pit.
Then the first accident of the race happened, just around the turn from where were we seated. Nelson Piquet of Renault crashed into a wall just after a turn. For the first time, the safety car came out. During this time, there will be no overtaking. But teams also use this to close the gaps between them.
Then disaster struck the Ferrari team. Massa was released from the pit with the fuel hose still attach to the car. With the speed that Massa was going out of the pit lane, it ripped out the hose and took down a machanic with it. The Ferrari team then rushed out at Massa’s car and desparately tried to remove the fuel hose. By the time the mechanics removed the hose, Massa was already dead last. Aside from the delay caused by the hose incident, Massa was also penalized for an unsafe exit from the pit lane. There was no way Massa would be able to win now. What a turn of events for Ferrari!
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso of Renault pitted early and was now slowly inching his way to the top of the heap. There were two more accidents for the rest of the night, the next one was from Adrian Sutil, which nearly caused a pile up near the exit of the Marina Bay Grandstand. For the second time, the safety car came out. Drivers took this opportunity to solidify their positions. Apparently, the the safety car period is also a critical moment for the drivers as they need to maintain almost the same running condition as without the safety car. You can see the drivers trying to work their engines and their wheels, just to make sure they are still in shape.
At this point several of the race leaders need to pit or were assessed penalties such that they fell behind by several places, giving Alonso the lead. It was amazing to see how the last man to start is now at the front of the pack. Alonso managed to keep the lead. Nico Rosberg was following him closely and Hamilton at third place. The final accident of the race happened when Kimi Räikkönen crashed with barely 4 laps to go. It was a truly forgetful race of Ferrari. With none of their drivers getting points.
With overtaking proving to be a difficult task for the drivers. Alonso maintained the top spot all the to the finish line. Followed by Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. This is truly a huge turn of events with the last guy finishing first. Evidence that strategy also counts a lot here. Fernando Alonso went aroud the track for the fans and the crowd responded by applauding appreciably. Even though it was a bad day for Ferrari fans, the fact that Hamilton didn’t win it is already a consolation. This race also demonstrated the importance of strategy in the Formula One races. It is not all about speed.
Overall, the Singapore leg of the Formula One Grand Prix was a much better experience than the one I had in Sepang, Malaysia. The big screen TV was huge factor in helping fans like me understand what is going on in other parts of the track. Also, since this was a nice race, it was more enjoyable, since it wasn’t that hot. I can say that this was a job well done by the organizers of the race. The only comment I have is that the fences kind of ruin the whole experience. I could not take any decent pictures of the cars as they zip by. And being a nice race, it doesn’t help take any better pictures. Then again, when it comes to safety, you’d have to be paranoid.