Singapore’s Formula One Grand Prix is something special. 2013 was my first time attending. Not to wax poetic about it, but it will take your breath away. Especially if you can find some perspective over the track; The singapore flyer, or one of the many hotels that look over the circuit and skyline are good places to start. As the sun slowly sets over Asia, the thousand lights lining the circuit slowly start to overpower the natural ambient light, and the track comes to life before your eyes. Those fleeting moments that the sky is filled with purple and blues, and the Singapore skyline is a painting of neon lights, and the track becomes ever more defined with each passing second, is truly something special to witness.
But even better than the venue, as a race track, Singapore is unique. Special. challenging. It provides the drivers a worthy challenge in comparison to some of the dull featureless landscapes of other venues. No disrespect to Sepang or Shanghai, or even Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, but it’s hard to compare what Formula One is like on a street circuit versus a wide open, tarmac run off filled and purpose built race track. If we could run street circuits permanently, you would hear not complaints from this photographer. In an age of racing where, personally, Formula One cars don’t give me that neck tingling chill, or burst of adrenaline like they did even a year ago, street circuits like Singapore still get close to that feeling. The proximity to the cars. The atmosphere in the city. The fans standing feet away from the cars. Places like Singapore are a necessary part of the F1 calendar.
Following the scenes of teammate tension in Monza between Mercedes’ two star pilots, things would only heat up in Singapore. Literally. Hamilton, on a charge and riding the momentum of recent race wins took a sensational pole in the last moments of qualifying by .007 seconds. I was standing at the final chicane which runs under the freeway overpass above and watching the drivers absolutely throw their cars into the corner, bouncing and sliding over the curbing was magical. I only hope the fans saw half of the energy that was thrown into that qualifying session that I did.
And with race day looming, the tension was building. A fellow photographer and I joked that we hoped Hamilton and Rosberg would come barreling into our corner we were shooting, make contact, both retire from the race and end up throwing punches in front of us. Sadly what actually happened was far less entertaining, and Britain’s Lewis Hamilton took another win, taking the lead in the championship and only further swinging the momentum in his direction.
Dull race or not, Singapore is one of the special ones. One of the new age classic Grand Prix venues that keep everyone wanting more. Wanting more races with personality like Singapore. More tracks that demand everything from car and driver. More Formula One the way we love it. So cheers to my favorite race on the calendar. Cheers to the people that make it so easy to work. And cheers to the people I work with that make it such a fun week.