After clinching back-to-back victories, including his maiden Formula One win in Spa and tasting victory as a Ferrari driver in Monza, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari are expecting a tougher outing this time round.
“The race doesn’t look good on paper for us,” said Leclerc. “That’s because of the very different circuit layout with lots of slow corners and fewer straights.”
The 21-year-old broke Ferrari’s winless run since the USA GP in 2018, though the Monegasques teammate Sebastian Vettel is under pressure, after the German’s horror show in Italy means he now trails Leclerc in the driver standings.
However, Vettel has the joint best record on the grid at Singapore, accumulating four-wins, the same as Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton who himself will be aiming to increase his 65-point lead at the top of the standings.
Max Verstappen will be hoping to right the wrongs of previous races after having a miserable return since the mid-season break. The Red Bull on paper is the car to beat alongside Mercedes this weekend, suiting the technical requirements of a demanding Singapore circuit.
The Dutchman said, “It’s a race where we tend to do better than say, Monza and Spa and hopefully we can have another good weekend. We’re aiming for maximum points.”
Having graced the Formula One calendar for the first time in 2008, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is one of the more modern tracks visited throughout the season.
After a series of European classics such as Italy and Belgium, Formula One returns to Singapore, a track known for it’s sweltering heat and physical extortion of the drivers.
“Singapore is maybe the toughest track for us drivers physically, just because of the heat and humidity,” said Ferrari’s Leclerc.
The circuit is 5.063km in length and consists of 61-laps across a race distance of 308.706km. Bizarrely, the fastest lap at the Marina Bay Street Circuit is from none other than Kevin Magnussen in 2018 in the Haas.
Initial forecasts ahead of this weekend’s Singapore GP suggests chances of light showers amidst the usual warm and humid conditions expected.
What happened last year?
Last year’s Singapore GP saw Vettel and Ferrari at the heart of yet another questionable strategy call debacle, which was one of many in the 2018 season that cost him a shot at the driver’s world championship.
After making up ground to second place, overtaking Verstappen in the process, the wrong choice of tyres at the pit-stop meant Verstappen edged ahead of the four-time world champion and the Dutchman went on to clinch second place.
Hamilton was out in front for the entire race and clinched victory, though his personal highlight of last year’s race-weekend was the sublime qualifying lap that placed him on pole for the Singapore GP.
The Brit capitalised on the collapsed Ferrari’s and put in one of the great Hamilton laps that we have come to expect of the five-time world champion, a lap he will be hoping to match heading into Saturday's qualifying session.
When can I watch it?
Free practice 1: 09:30 – 11:00
Free practice 2: 13:30 – 15:00
Free practice 3: 11:00 – 12:00
Qualifying: 14:00 – 15:00
All times BST.