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F1 2016: Singapore Gp Preview – Spectacular Singapore

The Formula 1 paddock leaves Europe behind as it sets off the final push for the 2016 season. First on the flyaway schedule is the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore.

As the first ever night race on the calendar the 2008 debut of the Singapore grand prix will forever be shrouded in controversy. It was during this grand prix that the infamous ‘crashgate’ scandal was born as Renault ordered then driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to deliberately crash in aid of teammate Fernando Alonso.

Luckily this incident didn’t mar the reputation of the Singapore Gp which has become a favourite on the calendar for drivers and fans. For fans the spectacular vista of Singapore presents a cosmopolitan destination while the novelty of a night race hasn’t yet worn off. The light skimming across the sculpted bodywork of a Formula 1 car continues to be one of the most visceral experiences of the year.

For the drivers, the Marina Bay Circuit is as a demanding a track as they are likely to face in the entire season. In layman’s terms this circuit would be described as busy. Throughout just five kilometers drivers are bombarded with 23 corners with barriers and walls lying in wait to punish the smallest of errors. The level of concentration required is second to none along with the added factor of weather conditions. Though are supremely fit athletes drivers easily point out that the level of concentration required and the dense humidity make Singapore the most physically demanding race of the year.

Lewis Hamilton Singapore 2014It’s not a dawdle for the cars either. The nature of this street circuit demands a high downforce setup and it’s tough on brakes too. Here horsepower isn’t as important as a good chassis, which will bring more teams into the mix for the ultimate prize on Sunday.

Twelve months ago Mercedes arrived at the Singapore grand prix with the expectation of fighting it out for the front row and ultimately the win. This expectation was completely decimated as both Hamilton and Rosberg struggled through the weekend. While Hamilton eventually retired from the race Rosberg could only manage a distant fourth.

At the time several conspiracy theories swirled around Mercedes sudden loss of pace but in reality it was a change in tyre pressures that stumped Hamilton and Rosberg twelve months ago. While the team is likely to have solved this issue for 2016 victory this weekend isn’t a done deal.

Singapore 2014The biggest challenge for the top step of the podium is sure to come from Red Bull. The Austrian team should excel this weekend given its aerodynamic prowess. Ferrari too will have an eye on a better performance, as it was Sebastian Vettel who won the 2015 Singapore Gp. However, despite the fact that Vettel is a bit of a Singapore specialist the 2016 Ferrari isn’t quite the car the team delivered last year.

Mercedes has utterly dominated the 2016 season but despite this, and however preposterous it may appear, Red Bull will be the team to beat this weekend.

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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2017 Belgian GP Broadcast Times

CDTBSTGMT+2Local
Free Practice 1Friday 03:00Friday 09:00Friday 10:00Friday 10:00
Free Practice 2Friday 08:00Friday 13:00Friday 14:00Friday 14:00
Free Practice 3Saturday 04:00Saturday 10:00Saturday 11:00Saturday 11:00
QualifyingSaturday 08:00Saturday 13:00Saturday 14:00Saturday 14:00
RaceSunday 08:00Sunday 13:00Sunday 14:00Sunday 14:00

2017 Drivers Championship

Pos.DriverPoints
1 Sebastian Vettel202
2 Lewis Hamilton188
3 Valtteri Bottas169
4 Daniel Ricciardo117
5 Kimi Raikkonen116
> Full Championship Table

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