The Formula 1 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix was another epic event. Stewart Bell looks beyond the racing line for the action.
Australian racer Daniel Ricciardo may have had a tough time at the Formula 1 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, unable to improve on where he started in sixth; while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton dominated from lights-to-flag, for his fourth victory at the famed city-state.
But, thousands of Australians still left Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday night happy, following an action-packed weekend at F1’s original night race – with this year’s event celebrating its 11th edition since 2008, and second-highest ever attendance with more than 263,000 people.
And it’s a trackside party Ricciardo knows all too well, despite the result, given family and friends regularly take the short flight from Perth.
“It’s definitely established itself on the calendar, everyone knows it, being the original night race and the real spectacle night race,” the 29-year-old said.
“I think the way the city gets around the race is really cool. I’ve had family and friends come to it and they’ve only ever said good things, so it’s a good one and for me, I embrace the challenge. I love street circuits period. But knowing that one is such a physical challenge as well is always fun.”
Away from the track, which featured F1 along with competitive sportscar series’ Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, fans were treated to incredible live performances from 27 acts this year, featuring headliners Martin Garrix, The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Jay Chou, Dua Lipa, and Simply Red.
And each night, the Padang Stage, at the back of the Circuit Park – parallel to the short straight between Turns 9-10 – boomed as almost 60,000 fans danced and sang to some of the world’s biggest artists playing out. The Killers even invited a fan onstage to play the drums, and he delivered as the crowd went wild.
Along with fans enjoying the view from one of the 12 grandstand options, there was another – albeit more famous – Aussie in the Formula 1 Paddock Club, with Neil Perry’s Rockpool restaurant making its event debut at the world-renowned superluxe hospitality precinct.
Perry’s first experience was a hugely busy one, with the 61-year-old pulling 20-hour days as he, and his team, sought to keep ahead of the thousands of meals served daily – in a super VIP area that also comprised Nobu, Hong Kong-based bar and restaurant Stockton, and international powerhouse Como Cuisine.
There was another debut happening further down the pit straight with new VIP party precinct Twenty3, its name from the final turn where it’s located.
And it had to be seen to be believed, with Twenty3 housed over 3,000sqm with three five-star restaurants, four bars, a 10-metre long dessert bar and, to top it off, a two-storey nightclub known as the Apex Lounge – complete with a kinetic light installation, which was specially brought in from Germany.
But, you didn’t need a VIP pass to enjoy the event in Singapore, with families and kids young and old getting their hearts racing with interactive activities such as the Pit Stop Challenge, perusing the support race paddocks or getting behind the wheel of a race simulator for a few laps of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Ricciardo may not have broken his Singapore Grand Prix duck as yet, returning next year in Renault colours, but the thousands of Aussie fans who were on the flight home still had smiles and memories to enjoy for years. It’s a mega event, and one worth planning a trip to for 2019.
The FORMULA 1 2019 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX will be held from September 20-22*, with tickets available at singaporegp.sg at Super Early Bird prices with up to 33 per cent savings.
*Subject to FIA World Motor Sport Council approval.