September 20, 2018 / 12:13 AM / a year ago

Singapore celebrates another year of F1 success

The Singapore Grand Prix once again proved to be a huge success with a near record turnout of fans soaking in the heady mix of high-octane excitement and glamour served up by the city-state’s floodlit spectacular.

The Marina Bay Street Circuit, which winds its way through the heart of Singapore’s financial district with its glittering skyline as the  backdrop, opened its gates to over 263,000 fans over the three days from Friday to Sunday, according to organisers.

This marked the second-highest three-day attendance in the event’s 11-year history, once again highlighting the grand prix’s standing as a fan-favourite and signature event on Formula One’s 21-race calendar.

2018 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX (16 September 2018) - Zone 4 - Padang Stage - Martin Garrix

“The Formula 1 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix has attained the second-highest three-day attendance in the race’s 11-year history, reflecting the continuing strong support for the event both from the south-east Asia region and the broader international market,” noted Formula One in its official post-race press release.

The race’s 11th running showed how the event has grown from “strength to strength,” it said, adding that accounting for this year’s numbers, attendances had seen an increase of 3.5 percent on average over the past ten races.

The championship battle raging between Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel, the first time Formula One has witnessed two four-time world champions going head-to-head for a fifth title, may have had a significant role to play in pulling in the crowds.

But Singapore’s reputation as a business, lifestyle, entertainment and tourism hub only adds to the lure of the event for fans.

The race’s entertainment line up once again featured world-class headline acts.

Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher whipped the crowd up with renditions of the band’s old hits ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, ‘Supersonic’ and ‘Wonderwall’ in the build-up to qualifying, even dedicating the popular ‘Some Might Say’ to Lewis Hamilton.

The Killers kept the excitement going after the session, while Jay Chou, Dua Lipa, Martin Garrix and Simply Red also featured on the bill.

The new lifestyle joint Twenty3, located on the outside of the circuit’s final Turn 23 and with its sweeping view of the start-finish straight and its moving, light-up ceiling, also proved to be a popular place from which to watch the on-track action.

A general view of the Twenty3 suites

The legendary Singapore Formula 1 Paddock Club™ reaffirmed its position as the epitome of luxury hospitality, showcasing world-class gastronomy with renowned restaurants Nobu and Rockpool by Neil Perry, along with Tarte by Cheryl Koh, COMO Cuisine and Hong Kong’s Stockton Bar.

The race itself may not have been as spectacular as the setting of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, with the top six finishing as they started, but the race could well come to be seen as a watershed moment in the 2018 season.

Hamilton’s win, combined with a third place finish for Vettel, has allowed the Briton to move 40 points clear at the top of the standings.

While not quite there, he is now within reach of being in a position where he can wrap up the title without having to win another race.

And he laid the foundations for his Sunday triumph with a stunning lap in qualifying on Saturday.

Even as Vettel floundered, Hamilton conjured up his own special brand of magic, setting the floodlit streets of downtown Singapore alight, to seize pole position with the fastest-ever lap recorded around the tight confines of the Marina Bay track.

“Singapore is a beautiful track and honestly I’m super overwhelmed, absolutely overwhelmed, my heart is racing,” he said.

“I’ll tell you this track is epic. It’s so difficult this track. It is the most challenging circuit for us in the year. It’s Monaco on steroids really.”

Formula One F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - September 16, 2018 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the race REUTERS/Edgar Su

But, writing for the official Formula One website, veteran journalist David Tremayne probably summed up the attraction and enduring success of the Singapore Grand Prix best. 10 thoughts on singapore and beyond.

“It’s a neat track, Singapore is a nice place, and the event is well run and provides good back-up entertainment, including concerts this year by the likes of Liam Gallagher and The Killers,” wrote Tremayne.

“It’s become one of those hardy perennials, and long may it remain so.”

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