The Bouncebackable Guide: The A-Z Of Attending The F1 Singapore Night Race.

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So you want to experience the first and only night race in the Formula One Calendar? Congratulations! You’ve made a very wise decision, indeed. However, no F1 fan (whether you are a GP virgin or not) should embark on a journey unprepared. Be not afraid, for help is right here!

    While I’m most certainly not an expert, I would still like to share some tips and tricks I’ve accumulated throughout my numerous years (2009-2012, 2015 ) of attending this GP. So be prepared to sacrifice an hour’s worth of your life (or just minutes, if you’re a speed-reader) if you’re serious about maximizing your F1 Night Race experience.

    Ready, steady, GO!

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    A

    ASK!

    Let me veer away from alphabetical order for a bit just to state this very important tip: Do not be afraid to ask questions! If you know of any fellow fans (real-life or virtual) who’ve been there, then drop them a line and let them know that you need their help. F1 fans and Singaporeans (natives and residents alike) are quite helpful, so if you need help with anything, whether GP-related or not, do not hesitate to ask.

    Airport

    Singapore’s Changi Airport is world-famous for being one of the travelers’ most-preferred airports, and with good reason. It is well-designed, extremely clean, organized, and just 1000 shades of awesome (it has a pool, for goodness’ sake!). It will seriously make you change the way you look at airports. It takes around 30-40 minutes to get to the city from the airport, and transportation choices abound, so there really is virtually no hassle waiting for you once you touch down in Singapore.

    Apps

    The F1 Night Race has its very own app, specially designed to enhance and improve your GP experience. You can download it for Apple devices HERE and for Android devices HERE .

    Personally, I like the app named Singapore Map by Streetdirectory because it not only helps me navigate through the city but it also provides up-to-date information on public transportation and even fare prices. You can download it for Apple devices HERE and for Android devices HERE .

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    B

    Baggage

    • Pack light for your trip on-track. Just bring your essentials like your camera, mobile phone, hotel key, wallet, and the like. You’re going to be doing loads of walking so it’s not the best of ideas to bring your shopping bags with you when you enter the circuit.
    • Please make sure to read the tiny brochure included with your race ticket (or take a free circuit map outside the track) and read up in advance on what you can and cannot bring inside the track. Also, there’s a mandatory baggage search before you enter the circuit, so spare the security guys the tedium of going through your life’s belongings and shopping, okay?

    Note: I have to admit, I always break this rule because I cannot seem to function without having a capacious handbag with me. However, I always make sure to make a pit stop back to my hotel to drop off all my shopping before I proceed to the track. Trust me, you will function better and enjoy more if you have 2 hands available.

    Banners

    Fans are allowed to bring banners or flags in support of drivers and teams, but they are not allowed to be tied/mounted on railings.

    *Please contact the organizers if you plan to bring huge banners or flags, to make sure they will be allowed inside the track.

    Behavior

    No one is going to tell you off for making some noise, so go ahead and express your support for your fave driver/s! But, don’t get too over-excited, either. Basically, know when to cheer and know when to jeer (if you’re brave enough!). Also, there will be certain parts of the track that will be extremely crowded, mainly the passageways from one Zone to another and bridgeways/exit points, so always be nice and polite to your fellow F1 fans and mind the queues!

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    C

    Clothing

    Dress appropriately. It will be hot and humid in the afternoon, and after the sun sets, it can even turn a little chilly, especially in the areas close to the bay. Now is not the time to channel your inner fashionista, especially if you have walkabout tickets. Comfort is key, especially with your choice of footwear, as you will be walking on different materials and terrain and standing for several hours. Wear light and breathable shirts. Bring an extra one, if you sweat a lot. Believe me, once you’re there, you’ll thank me for this.

    Commentary

    Live commentary will be heard throughout the whole track (via 102FM), so even if you’re not within eyesight of a wide-screen, you’ll still be able to keep up with drivers’ positions and everything relevant that is happening on- and off-track.

    *You can now buy headsets that provide commentary inside the track.

    Companion/s

    To go solo or to bring companions? This can be a bit of a sticky situation. For the 1st 3 years that I’ve attended this GP, I’ve brought companions with me, and while I enjoyed spending time with them, the truth is that they’re not as huge of an F1 fan as I am, so I had to take into consideration their feelings/interests. As a result, I didn’t get to 100% explore and enjoy the circuit offerings. I went alone for 2012 and 2015, and found that I quite enjoyed the experience, because I got to move around freely, quickly and was somehow “forced” to interact with fellow fans—in a good way. So yes, this is quite subjective, depends on you really on how you’d like to experience the GP weekend.

    Contests

    Want to win goodies or get the chance to meet your favourite drivers in person? Then vigilantly check the drivers’ and teams’ Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as their official websites on news regarding contests and promos. You can also check out the accounts of their major sponsors. Check regularly and join as many as you can! Good luck!

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    D

    Drivers’ Autograph Session

    Unlike the other GPs, the autograph session for the Singapore GP operates quite differently. Yes, it does occur and is not just a myth, but from my understanding, you have to be a winner in one of their promos in order to attend this super-exclusive event. If you have already purchased tickets, check your email regularly and be on the lookout for the one promoting the contest to win tickets for this event—all you have to do is to do submit your ticket transaction number, cross your fingers and hope with all your heart that you win those much-coveted passes.

    Driver-Spotting

    So you’ve joined all the contests, but didn’t win any? Don’t fret, not all hope is lost. You can still see your favourite driver/s in person using several ways:

    • Refer to Contests above and then note the times and locations of their PR events. Go to the said locations and try to catch them when they arrive or when they leave.
    • F1 teams usually book the same hotels every year, so use your best sleuthing skills and again, try to catch the drivers when they’re about to leave or enter the hotel. This is a bit tricky, as I’m sure hotel personnel may become strict with fans interrupting/ambushing the drivers.
    • Work out the Gate/s nearest the hotels where the drivers stay, and try to catch them before they enter and exit the track (Hint: Check the circuit map and zoom in on the Gate near the Ritz-Carlton).
    • If your ticket allows it, wait outside the Paddock/VIP entrance in Zone 1 and try to catch the drivers there before they enter or leave. Just make sure to behave and not to be too aggressive so as not to provoke the ire of security.
    • Keep your eyes peeled! I once chanced upon then-Force India test driver Nico Hulkenberg on a taxi queue outside a shopping mall (Yes, he very politely queued up with his companions and weirdly enough, nobody else recognized him but me!). The city isn’t that big so if you know where to look, you’re bound to find members of the F1 circus!

    Note: From experience, I’ve found that drivers respond better to fans who are calm and polite, so keep your emotions in check and try not to be too excited when interacting with the drivers. Oh, and don’t forget to thank them after they sign your stuff and pose for photos!

    Nico Rosberg at the Puma pop-up store outside Raffles City Mall (2012 Night Race).

    Jenson Button at the Tag Heuer store opening at Wisma Atria, along Orchard Road (2012 Night Race).

    Hulk signing stuff for fans (2015).

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    Drivers’ Track Parade

    This occurs at 18:30 on the race day, and one of the good things about the Night Race is that the drivers are given their own vintage car to ride around the track, they’re not just lumped into a single truck, so the fans will get to see each driver more. From experience, if you position yourself in one of the sparsely-populated areas (like some viewing platforms on Zones 2 and 3) during the parade, you can stay really close to the barriers, and if you’re brave enough, you can shout your fave drivers’ name as they pass by to get them to acknowledge you. I’ve done that a couple of times, and it works, honestly!

    *Unfortunately, the classic cars were absent during 2015 and they put all the drivers in 1 truck. I hope the classic cars make a return soon!

    Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher during the 2012 Night Race’s Drivers’ Track Parade.

    The drivers during the 2015 parade

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     E

    Earplugs

    You need them. Without question*. Don’t even attempt to be cool or hipster or macho because your eardrums will be mercilessly assaulted by the roar of the engines. I always bring my own pair, but just in case you forget, you can always pick up a pair at convenience stores for a couple of dollars or buy the “Survival Kit” on track, which consists of a pair of earplugs and a plastic poncho. Proceeds go to charity so you’re hitting 2 birds with 1 stone.

    (*Now that the V8 era is over and the V6 engines rule, the roar isn’t as fierce as they once were. However, that doesn’t mean that you can forego wearing earplugs. Better safe than sorry!)

    Entertainment

    There’s no shortage of entertainment options around the circuit park. Go around the F1 Village and you’ll spend hours shopping, amusing yourself, or even getting to meet some like-minded petrol heads.

    Check out this guy channeling his inner Ferrari driver (2015).

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    F

    Fireworks

    Keep your eyes peeled for the firework show at the end of the race. They’re always spectacular and a memorable way to cap off the race and to signal the start of the all-night Sunday partying!

    Flights

    • Book early! Diligently monitor the websites of your fave airlines, sign up for e-newsletters or download apps like Skyscanner to get the best deals on flights going to Singapore. The earliest I’ve booked my flights for the GP was during a seat sale on a January, but I know of some fans who’ve booked their flights as early as November of the previous year! So do your research and remember to read the fine print and the terms & conditions of your flight details, just in case you need to make necessary/emergency changes.
    • Based on personal experience, if you’re returning home on the Monday after the GP, do not book a flight earlier than 8 am local time. Leave ample time for you and your companions to enjoy everything the track has to offer before you head back to your hotel and pack everything up. Trust me, it is not fun to be speed-packing with barely an hour’s worth of sleep just to catch a very early flight the next morning!

    Food and Beverage

    • Food and drinks are more expensive inside the track. That’s a fact. Bottled water, for example, are priced twice, even thrice as much as those sold in convenience stores, so my advice is to buy your water outside (each person is allowed to bring up to 500mL of bottled water inside the track) if you want to save on cash. As for food, if your ticket allows it, you can head over to the Singapore Flyer and try the different food stalls there. If you’re a Zone 4 ticket holder, exit through Gate 3 or Gate 7/8 and head over to the nearby malls to find more affordable nosh. If you’re not a heavy eater like I am, you can just bring some energy bars and/or granola bars to tide you over.
    • On raceday, there will be some areas where the race marshals will generously give away extra bottled water. Usually, they are the sparsely-populated areas in Zones 2 or 3. I’ve experienced this twice and my advice is, even if you already have some water with you, accept an extra bottle still, because believe me, you will need to rehydrate yourself during and after the race.
    • If you run out of water in a part of the track that’s far away from a beverage stand, please do not hesitate to approach a race marshal and politely ask for some bottled water.

    Free Practice Sessions

    FP1 is on Friday at 18:00-19:30 local time; FP2 is on later at 21:30-23:00 local time while FP3 is on Saturday at 18:00-19:30 local time. Practice sessions are a great time to move around the track to try to find the best vantage points, and also to practice and improve your photo- and video-taking skills.

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    G

    Gates

    • I’m a creature of habit, and to be honest, I’ve only ever used 3 gates in my 4 years of attending this GP: Gates 2, 3 and 7/8. Gate 2, I’ve used to exit the track after “stalking” the drivers, Gate 3 to check out the track early in the afternoon after claiming my tickets (it’s just a stone’s throw away from the Swissotel Stamford), and Gate 7/8 has always been my preferred entry/exit point, mainly because you have to go through several shopping malls to get there after you get off the City Hall train station (multitasking for the win!).
    • Study the circuit map and choose your entry/exit points in advance, to save time and effort.

    Note: The organizers sometimes reassign Gate numbers, so do check the updated Circuit Map for reference.

    Interior view of Gate 7.


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      Greek Theatre

      Located in Zone 2. My favorite place to: hang out in/rest my legs/have a bite to eat/update my social media sites/people-watch in-between practice/qualifying sessions. Lots of race marshals like to hang out there to rest, too.

      View of the Greek Theatre.

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      H

      Hawker’s Centers

      Singapore is a foodie paradise, and if you want to experience the rich culinary offerings of the LionCity, then definitely go to one of the numerous hawker’s centers around the city and eat, drink and be merry! A lot of them stay open until the wee hours of the morning, so you’ll have plenty of time to get your cravings satisfied.

      Heat and Humidity

      Singapore is a tropical country, and you will be subjected to different levels of heat and humidity throughout the race weekend. As previously mentioned under Clothing, dress appropriately, don’t forget to put on your sun cream, and remember to constantly hydrate yourself!

      Hotels/Hostels

      Hotels and hostels apparently report close to 90+% occupancy rates during the race weekend, so make sure to book your accommodation early, to save on rates as well. Regularly check websites such as booking.com, agoda.com, expedia.com, etc. to get news on room sales and get the best deals. If you have a certain chain of hotel that you’re loyal to, it may be a better idea to book directly through them or their website, as they will be less strict on cancellations or rebookings. Remember that the closer the hotel is to the track, the more expensive their rates will be. However, take note that the city is not that large, so definitely don’t discount the hotels/hostels that may not necessarily be near the track, because with their very efficient transport system, I can guarantee that you won’t spend more than an hour (at worst) to get to the track and back to your hotel. Alternatively, check out the offerings at Airbnb.

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       I

      Internet

      There’s no free wi-fi inside the track, so if you’re on a foreign service provider and don’t want to be shocked by overseas roaming charges, then I suggest you buy a prepaid SIM card from a local service provider, whether in the airport,  convenience stores, or mobile phone shops. They’re speedy, reliable, and cheap too.

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      K

      Kimi Raikkonen

      Finnish driver also known as the Iceman. Known to be one of the most-difficult drivers to track down during the race weekend. If you do manage to find out which hotel he is billeted in (hint: it’s usually the same one every year), then your best chance to see him up close or to get his autograph is to patiently wait outside his hotel and catch him when he goes out of the hotel to go to the track or vice-versa.

      Note: He now does a lot of PR Events for Ferrari and their sponsors, so do check their social media accounts to find out how to see the Iceman up close.

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      L

      Little India

      One of the more famous tourist spots in Singapore. It’s also where the country’s only 24-hr shopping mall, Mustafa Centre, is located.

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      M

      Map

      Ushers inside and outside the track will be handing out maps throughout the race weekend. Get not just one but a couple or more, so you can always refer to it, use it to fan yourself, and even use it as emergency seating when you want to rest your legs.

      Merchandise

      You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to racing-related merchandise not just during the GP weekend but pre- and post- GP weekend as well. Official merchandise shops will be present along Orchard Road as well as in several areas inside the track. There will also be numerous pop-up stores inside and outside other major shopping malls. Prepare yourself, though—official merchandise are most certainly not cheap.

      Some of the merchandise stalls inside the circuit park (2012).

      One of the GP Merchandise Stores along Orchard Road (2012).

      Official Singapore GP Merchandise stall (2015).

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      Miscellaneous Travel Tips

      • Do not forget to bring extra three-prong travel adaptors for your electronics.
      • Singapore, like the UK and Japan, drives on the right-hand side. Be careful when you cross the street and look both ways twice!
      • Please use the zebra crossing when you cross the street. I always see a lot of foreigners disregard them and it makes me cringe because it’s not very respectful to a country that works hard to maintain order.
      • Bring a pair of mini-binoculars if you really want to see the F1 cars/drivers up close. I have a set of folding mini-binoculars and it’s always interesting to use them when I watch the cars race as you get an extreme close-up of so many fascinating things.
      • Don’t forget to wear sunscreen! It may be a night race, but no doubt that you’ll be exploring the city during the day as well and if you’re an ‘early bird’ like me,  you’ll be arriving on-track way before the sun sets–so avoid the unsightly tan lines and possible sunburns and remember that you’ll be in the tropics. Better safe than sorry!

       

      Musical Acts

      Musical acts are usually announced and confirmed 3-4 months before the GP. However, 2 or 3 major acts are also usually revealed during the Early Bird Ticket Sales Phase.

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      O

      Orchard Road

      Singapore’s famous shopping district. If you’re a shopaholic, then you’d definitely love it. However, even if you’re not a fan of shopping, this place absolutely comes alive during the GP week, so it’s definitely worth checking out because it will be teeming with loads of interesting exhibits and activities!

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      P

      Padang Stage

      This is where the major musical acts will play on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the race weekend. It’s a bit of a walk from Zone 1, so if you want to get a good place to watch the musical acts, then you’d better be prepared to channel your inner Road Runner!

      Some fans who want to get prime locations for the musical concerts actually camp out in Padang early and just watch the race there via the wide screens.

      Paddock

      Want to satisfy your inner paparazzi? Then head to the area just outside the Paddock Entrance/Exit (if your ticket allows it) and see the who’s who of F1, motorsport and the media pass right before your eyes. Try to stay cool and be friendly to the security, so you won’t get shooed away.

      Defending Champ Sebastian Vettel signs for fans outside the Paddock Entrance (2012).

      7x WDC Michael Schumacher signs for fans outside the Paddock Entrance (2012).

      Nico Rosberg chats with fans (2015).

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      Petrol Ed

      He’s like The Stig, only he’s Singaporean and yeah, he’s the F1 Night Race’s beloved “mascot”. Try to find him around the circuit and take creative photos with him, and you might stand a chance to win some cool prizes!

       

      Photography/ Photographic Equipment

      • Tripods and monopods are not allowed in the grandstands, only in the general walkabout zones.
      • I’m no expert when it comes to taking photos or videos, so it might be a good idea to ask your tech-savvy/photography buff friends for tips in advance on taking photos of high-speed objects such as F1 cars. I can confirm, however, that using my Lumix camera’s “Burst Mode” was extremely helpful whenever I took photos of the F1 cars in action. Oh, and when in doubt, just switch to video mode.

       

      Podium Ceremonies

      If you’re a Pit Grandstand ticket holder, then you’ll pretty much get a clear view of the post-race podium ceremonies. If you have Premier Walkabout Tickets, then get yourself to the area nearest the start straight several laps before the end of the race, because after the chequered flag is waved and all of the cars have been brought to parc ferme, the marshals will open a gate there and allow the fans to “invade” the track and watch the podium ceremonies up close. It really is worth the trek (and barrier-climbing experience), as the atmosphere there is quite incredible.

      The 2012 Podium Finishers.

      The 2015 Podium Finishers.

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       Post-Race

      Think the action stops at the dance of the chequered flag? Wrong! The party’s just beginning! Do the track walk, search for tyre marbles and/or crash debris, take as many photos as you can, and then head on over to the Fan Village to watch the concerts, ogle the cars at the vintage car display, channel your inner F1 driver by trying out the simulators, or what the heck, even get a motorsport-related tattoo (temporary, of course)! There are absolutely loads to do and check out so just…start walking!

      PR Events

      They are usually held on the Wednesday or Thursday of the GP week, all after 12 noon local time (see Time zone for explanation). If you want to see the drivers up close then diligently check the schedules for their PR events (see Social Media for helpful links).

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      Q

      Qualifying Session

      This starts at 21:00 local time on the Saturday and lasts an hour. Usually, it takes a while for the stands and viewing platforms to fill up because a lot of people leave the track after the FP3 to head to the nearby malls to have dinner.

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      R

      Race Officials

      Would you like to try the awesome, possibly life-changing experience of being a race official in the F1 Night Race? Then check this LINK regularly for updates on how to apply!

      Restrooms

      • There are a sufficient number of restrooms around the track, but my tip is: go and use one already before the race/qualifying/practice sessions. They can become quite congested and the queues annoyingly long after the sessions, so save yourself the trouble and force yourself to use one in advance.
      • For the picky ones: If you’re in Zone 4, then you can exit through Gate 7/8 and use the restrooms in the nearby shopping malls. If you’re in Zone 1/2, then you can head over to the Singapore Flyer and use the restrooms there.

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      S

      Shopping

      Singapore is an absolute shopper’s paradise! Just head over to the famous Orchard Road and you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you want more shopping choices, you can go to Bugis or even Sim Lim Square (for all your techie needs). If you want a comprehensive guide to all the shopping places, then grab a “shopping specific” map at the airport or at one of the Visitor’s Centres around the city.

      Singapore Flyer

      Want to have a different perspective of the race track? Then check out the Singapore Flyer and see the many facets not just of the GP but the city as well! Premier Walkabout, Zone 1 and Zone 2 Ticket Holders get to enjoy unlimited rides* throughout the race weekend, so if you want a temporary airconditioned refuge without spending a penny, then this experience is for you.

      View from the Singapore Flyer.

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      Social Media

      The Singapore GP is on Facebook and Twitter and has an official app as well. Follow them and be “in the know’ with regards contests, promos and latest developments.

      Use the hashtags #F1NightRace and #SingaporeGP to share your thoughts, pics and videos, as well as to find other awesome content and insider info!

      @F1NightRace – Singapore GP’s official Twitter account

      @visitsingapore– Singapore Tourist Board’s official Twitter account

      F1 Teams Twitter Accounts:

      @redbullracing –Red Bull

      @ScuderiaFerrari -Ferrari

      @McLarenF1 –McLaren

      @RenaultSportF1 – Renault

      @MercedesAMGF1 -Mercedes

      @ForceIndiaF1 –Sahara Force India

      @tororossospy – Toro Rosso

      @HaasF1Team –Haas F1

      @WilliamsRacing –Williams

      @SauberF1Team –Sauber

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      Souvenir Programme

      They will be sold at several areas around the circuit park, in case you want a little something to remember the GP by. Would also be very useful to have on hand in case you bump into a driver and need something for him to autograph.

      Support Races

      The Porsche Carrera Cup, the Ferrari Challenge Cup, and the GP2 Series also race in the Marina Bay Track the same weekend as F1, so even if you arrive at the track early, you’ll rarely see an empty/silent track.

      Note: The lineup changes yearly.

      Survival Kit

      What—in my humble opinion—should be in your possession during raceday:

      • Race ticket
      • Circuit map (can also double as a fan)
      • Water
      • Earplugs
      • Mobile phone
      • Digital camera (+ extra battery, memory card)
      • Power bank
      • Sharpie/pen and notebook (just in case you see/encounter someone famous!)
      • Small, folding umbrella (or plastic poncho, in case of rain)
      • Some money and a credit card (although not too much, for the temptation to shop and spend may prove to be too strong to resist!)
      • Passport or a valid ID

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       T

      Tickets

      • Race organizers have started a special Super Early Bird promo last year, which enabled fans to purchase tickets for the next night race as early as 2 months after the previous night race. If you’re extremely sure that you can make it, then this is a good deal, otherwise, you can wait until February for their regular Early Bird Ticket Sales phase which lasts until April. Check www.singaporegp.sg for further details.
      • You may also contact your local travel agents for tickets just in case you didn’t get to purchase tickets during the Early Bird Phases. I did that on the 1st year I attended the GP and I got a pretty good rate.
      • Take good care of your tickets and keep them close! You are required to present them to be scanned as you enter and leave the track. Never detach them from their lanyards and it’s actually quite a normal sight to see loads of people wearing their tickets already even while they’re out shopping and dining outside the track. (*Some shops offer discounts to race attendees so be on the lookout.)

      Tiger Balm

      One of the most famous Singaporean products. It can soothe and take away all the body aches and pains you are bound to experience on a race weekend, so it’s one of my must-buys in Singapore! It’s available at various convenience stores and chemists/pharmacies.

      Time zone

      Another thing that’s interesting about the Night Race is that although it’s in Asia and on GMT+8, teams and the media maintain the “European Time zone”, and so it is not unusual for them to start the day past noon local time and end the day way past 2 am local time. So yeah, adjust your body clock accordingly if you plan on “keeping up” with them!

      Track walks

      The circuit remains open to the public until the Wednesday of the GP week, so if you want to do your very own version of the track walk, you may very well do so. Usually, teams do their track walks on a Thursday, when the circuit is already closed to the public, but there are some instances when drivers and some F1 personalities do their track walks early and/or film on the track for some promo bits on a Wednesday, so keep your eyes peeled if you do decide to try your luck!

      I think fans with race tickets are allowed to enter the track on Thursday, but might only be allowed on some parts of it.

      Transportation

      • The Singapore MRT is the most popular way of getting around the city—and with good reason. It is fast and reliable (most of the time). There’s rarely a place within Singapore that is not within walking distance to a train station, so resist from hailing taxi cabs and use the MRT instead. Warning, though: It can get a little crowded during the GP weekend, so get to the track early. However, they extend the operating hours of the MRT up to 1:10 am during the GP weekend, so you can still party the night away without worrying about the commute home.
      • You may want to purchase the Singapore Tourist Pass, which will entitle you to unlimited train and bus rides. It comes in 1-,2- and 3- day denominations which is an excellent deal. Check out www.thesingaporetouristpass.com.sg for more details.
      • If you’re a regular Singapore visitor or if you foresee yourself returning to Singapore sometime soon, then you might want to purchase an EZ-Link card instead, as it can also be used to pay for purchases in certain convenience stores, and it is valid within 5 years of first usage and can be topped off /reloaded as needed.
      • Taxi cabs can be a bit expensive, but their drivers are honest and straightforward. Buses are also a good option. There will be massive re-routings throughout the race weekend so expect light to moderate traffic congestion in some parts of the city.

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      U

      Umbrellas

      It is usually not recommended to bring big umbrellas inside the track, but small, folding umbrellas are allowed just in case the heat gets too much or there’s a sudden drizzle.

      Ushers and Usherettes

      There will be loads of them scattered in and out of the track during the race weekend, to provide everyone with assistance whenever necessary. Don’t hesitate to approach them whenever you have questions or even if you just need to have a photo taken. They are all friendly and will be happy to help you!

      The ushers saying goodbye to the racegoers (2015).

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      V

      Viewing Platforms

      Right. This might be a bit long. If you are a grandstand ticket holder, then you can skip this part, and if you are a Zone 4 or Premier Walkabout Ticketholder, then this section is for you:

      *This section needs a massive update, but most of the info is still valid as of 2015.

      Legends:

      P1, P2…- Viewing Platforms

      V1, V2…- Vantage Points (areas where you can stay as Walkabout Ticket holder, but without a viewing platform)

      I’ve only been able to try out the Zone 4 and Premier Walkabout Tickets, and here I will talk about the viewing platforms and vantage points I’ve tested. Please refer to the slightly-modified circuit map below:

      *Right-click and open in new tab/window to enlarge photo.

      *Note: The modifications I made on the circuit map are for information purposes only.

      **For the official and updated Circuit Map, view or download it here.

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      P1- This viewing platform near T14 is probably my most-overused one. Generally, it is best to stay in viewing platforms near corners, as cars will need to slow down as they go through, so you’ll not only get a better view of them but you’ll also have a better chance to take proper photos or videos. Interestingly, a lot of “incidents” have also occurred near this corner throughout the years, too, such as: Nick Heidfeld’s BMW crashing there in 2009, Jenson Button getting stranded in the run-off area and Heikki Kovalainen spinning there in 2010, and Sergio Perez hitting the barrier in 2011. This area gets easily crowded, so be sure to save your spots early!

      View of T14 (2011).

      BMW driver Nick Heidfeld walks past the viewing platform after crashing out of the 2009 Night Race.

      Jenson Button’s McLaren gets stranded at the run-off area near T14 in one of the 2011 Night Race’s FPs.

      .

      V1- If you are a Premier Walkabout Ticket holder, you’ll pass by this area on the way to Zones 1 & 2 (from Zone 4). It is not really recommended to stay there for a long time as it is a busy passageway.

      View of T20 (2012).

      *As of 2015, this area has been covered to prevent pedestrian congestion.

      .

      P2- This viewing platform never really got crowded for the 3 days that I’ve attended last year, which I found curious because it is near Turn 21, which means it is a decent spot to take photos/videos of the cars. I recommend this spot for the Driver’s Track Parade, as you can get close to the barriers, and since there won’t be many people around, you can call out to the drivers and there’s a good chance they’ll acknowledge you.

      View 1 of T21 (2012).

      View 2 of T21 (2012).

      View of the Drivers’ Track Parade from the platforms near T21 (2012).

      View of the Drivers’ Parade near T21 (2015).

      .

      V2- I tried the Singapore Flyer during the Free Practice Sessions, and it is quite a different experience to watch the cars go around the circuit while you’re waaay up there. As you exit, you will get to a balcony where you’ll have a view of the T21-T22 straight, and as a bonus you’ll have a view of a widescreen as well. I stayed up there for several laps alone, since it was a practice session and not many people were using the Flyer, but I’m not sure if their personnel would allow people to stay in that balcony for long during the Qualifying Sessions and Race proper, as more people tend to use the Flyer then.

      View from the Sg Flyer balcony.

      View from the Sg Flyer balcony (2015).

      .

      P3- This viewing platform is between the T21 and T22 straight, just opposite the Singapore Flyer. I stayed there to experience seeing the cars literally zoom past me on a straight, as well as to enjoy the widescreens available for better understanding of what’s happening on-track. It’s quite difficult to take decent photos of the cars in this area, as their speed and acceleration rates are crazy!

      View of the T21-T22 straight.

      .

      V3- This is just near T22, and here you can get a pretty good view of the pit entry.

      From the viewing area near the pit entry (2015).

      .

      P4- This viewing platform is a good place to be at the end of the race, because you can partly see the podium ceremonies from there. If you can access this area though then might as well join the post-race track invasion for a closer look at the podium!

      View of The Pit building (2012).

      View from the platform opposite T23 straight (2015).

      Other 2015 Additions:

      You can see the back of the grid from the viewing area opposite the T23 straight (2015).

      You can get a good view of the cars leaving the pitlane in the platform opposite the Start-Finish straight (2015).

      From the viewing area just before T15 (2015).

      View along the T14 straight (2015).

      .

      There you go. There are loads of viewing platforms I haven’t gotten around to trying yet, so my advice is, use the practice sessions to go around and explore—and share your tips with us afterwards, of course!

      Visitor Centre

      I’ve always made sure to stop by the Visitor Centre for several reasons: a. They usually give out race-related freebies; b. They have free internet stations which you can use for a maximum of 15 minutes; c. They have a wide array of maps and detailed guides categorized according to your interests (shopping, sightseeing, historical walks, etc.); and d. They offer free use of massage chairs! So make sure to stop by and check out what they have in store!

       .

      W

      Walking

      You will be doing a lot of walking. Not just inside the circuit but outside the circuit as well. So be prepared. Don’t fret, though, as Singapore is a very walkable and very safe country.

      Weather

      As with most tropical countries, Singapore is hot and humid, but you can also expect some rain showers at that time of the year. Every year, weather forecasts predict some rain at some point in the race weekend, but since I do not want to experience the “wet dog look” as a spectator, I always make sure to do my “traditional anti-rain rituals” before I travel to Singapore. And what do you know, it has never failed me yet and there hasn’t been a wet Night Race in the 4 years that I’ve attended!

      Widescreens

      Several widescreens are available throughout the track, and again, you may refer to your trusty circuit map to locate them.

      The widescreen near the T21 straight (2015).

      .

      X

      X-Factor

      The track hasn’t always delivered some exciting and nail-biting races throughout the years, but believe me when I say that the magic and atmosphere of the night race is way better experienced in person and is not always transmitted on television. The GP weekend has a certain magic that won’t leave you disappointed, I assure you!

      .

      Y

      YOLO

      A good attitude to adopt while attending this GP.  🙂

       .

      Z

      Zen 

      Don’t stress yourself out too much—feel the moment and enjoy!

      Zones

      The track is divided into 4 zones, each with their own food & beverage and entertainment offerings. So study the circuit map carefully and make the most of the zone/s your ticket allows you to go to.

      .

      .

      There you have it. I do hope that my humble, labor-of-love little guide was able to answer some of your questions regarding the Singapore GP. Please feel free to share this to all those who may be interested, and if you have further enquiries, or even additional tips, then please use the comment box below—I’d be happy to help you further improve your Night Race Experience!

      .

      .
      (P.S. A version of this article is also published on F1 Destinations: http://f1destinations.com/a-z-guide-to-singapore-grand-prix/ )

      Twelve Days of Christmas: F1 Style*!

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      *You are now hereby required to sing while reading this post. Don’t be a Scrooge now, I know you can do it!

      .

      On the first day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!
      .

      .

      On the second day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the third day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the fourth day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the fifth day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Five Jaime winks!
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the sixth day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Six Schumis waving
      Five Jaime winks!
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the seventh day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Seven Webbers sulking
      Six Schumis waving
      Five Jaime winks!
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the eighth day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Eight Nicks a-running
      Seven Webbers sulking
      Six Schumis waving
      Five Jaime winks!
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the ninth day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Nine Rosbergs preening
      Eight Nicks a-running
      Seven Webbers sulking
      Six Schumis waving
      Five Jaime winks!
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the tenth day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Ten Nandos a-freaking
      Nine Rosbergs preening
      Eight Nicks a-running
      Seven Webbers sulking
      Six Schumis waving
      Five Jaime winks!
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the eleventh day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Eleven Lewis’ spinning
      Ten Nandos a-freaking
      Nine Rosbergs preening
      Eight Nicks a-running
      Seven Webbers sulking
      Six Schumis waving
      Five Jaime winks!
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      .

      On the twelfth day of Christmas,
      My true love gave to me
      Twelve Vettels a-swaggin’
      Eleven Lewis’ spinning
      Ten Nandos a-freaking
      Nine Rosbergs preening
      Eight Nicks a-running
      Seven Webbers sulking
      Six Schumis waving
      Five Jaime winks!
      Four Button Mos
      Three Neweys
      Two battling cars, and
      A pic of comebacking Kimi!

      193851684193851684193851684193851684193851684193851684193851684193851684193851684193851684193851684193851684

      .

      HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

      .

      .

      P.S. Credit to f1-gifs.tumblr.com for some of the gifs used. If you made/own some of the others, please leave a message so i can credit you. Thanks!

      An Open Letter To Kimi Raikkonen, Part 2.

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      I've to say, black does suit you, Kimi. And, I still don't know what goes on in that pretty head of yours. (image via PF1 Forum)

      Dear Kimi,

      You’ve got some nerve, you know that?

      Once again, you’ve managed to ruin my impending life plans for 2012 by announcing your Formula 1 comeback just when I was starting to oh-so-slowly adjust to the F1 life without your icy, self-contained racer self.  How could you?!

      My plans may have been ruined, and yet, I cannot stop smiling.

      To be honest, the moment I heard your deal with Williams fell through, I just wanted to curse and shout at the racing gods for punishing us fans over and over again. The optimist in me has already started to consider what other options you have in motorsport, but still, 95% of my being is still screaming and wishing for that much-elusive F1 return.

      And it happened. It felt so surreal and incredible. I’m still actually trying to digest all of these developments right now. Oh, and I was quite surprised that the internet did not explode the second your comeback made the news. See, even though you’ve only been within the periphery of the F1 circus in the last 2 years, only you have the power to make hundreds of thousands of racing fans collectively flail at the words “Kimi + F1 + comeback”. You like to keep that darn poker face on nearly 24/7 but come on, even you have to admit that that’s quite an impressive power to have.

      So you’re going to Renault/Lotus, then? I find it a bit ironic and funny that you
      somehow ended up with the team that you inadvertently iceburned when they tried to persuade you to return to F1 last year. Not that I’m complaining, though. You could have announced that you were coming back to F1 by way of resurrecting the old cult favorite team Super Aguri and I’d still let out a whoop of joy as if I’d won the lottery. Just watch out for that Boullier guy, yeah? I’m not entirely sure I trust him just yet. Then again, you have a pretty good built-in bullshit-detector so just keep that in tip-top shape and you should be ok.

      I have not even given a thought about your future teammate, to tell the truth. I
      suppose if it is Petrov then the media/fans would either have a field day in
      making up spoofs on both your lack of verbosity or just simply be reduced to looking up at the sky and wondering how the hell they’d find the words to embellish their articles. On the positive side though, I suppose vodka would become Team Lotus’ drink of choice?. If it is Senna, then the sponsors would probably piss their pants in joy and you two would be one of, if not the most photographed team in the grid (of course both of you ain’t bad on track, either). If it is Grosjean, then…you’d have a new teammate in Grosjean? I don’t know, I’m not too keen on him, not that my opinion matters anyway. Hang on, is there any way you can convince Robert Kubica to come back quickly and partner you so my dream of Team Awesome Poker Face can come true? Just a thought.

      At this point, I do not even care to know your exact reason/s for returning. I
      know it’s not because you miss Bernie and his shenanigans or the media BS or the whole circus of it all. What matters most is that despite all of that, you came back, and that single action is more than enough to make the upcoming season an awesome one, and it has not even begun yet.

      So, allow me to thank you, Kimi. Thank you for the twists and the turns and the downs and the ups and the slaps and the spanks and the punches of this rollercoaster ride. No one ever said it would be easy to be a supporter of yours, but every one of us wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Tonight, I will sleep with a huge smile on my face and the knowledge that in 2012, there will be 6 World Champions in the grid competing in F1. Not to mention the fact that I will get the chance to see you and the Michael Schumacher renew your rivalry on-track (I need a moment to process this, someone hold me). I know that for you, those guys are just mere mortals and simply other drivers to overtake on the track, but that factoid is really blowing my mind right now, so don’t piss (or should that be “shit”?) on my parade, ok?

      What’s 2 years of absence, anyway? Your true fans know you’re worth the wait and the expense to see live in action (still, that doesn’t mean I enjoyed the agony of your sabbatical. Damn you for the heartaches. Oops, I’m digressing…). Surely even the haters/critics, whether they admit it or not, are pleased to have you back.

      Give them hell, Kimi. See you again in a few months’ time in Singapore. And
      brace yourself for a “homecoming welcome” from your fans unlike any other. You may not be easily impressed but I’m telling you, it will be so good, you’ll regret why you ever left F1 in the first place.

      Love,
      Bouncebackabilitrix xx

      P.S.
      I know it’s not in your character to do this, but just in case you ever bump into him, can you please go all gangsta and say “In yo face, Jacques Villeneuve!” to that muppet JV? It will really make my year. Thanks. 🙂

      P.P.S.
      Also, would it be too much to ask you to get a decent haircut? Unless you’re still on that phase of wanting to channel James Hunt, I (and thousands of others) really do think that short hair suits you better. Now go on and enjoy your winter of fishing and screwing!

      .

      Return To Turn 14: The 2011 Bouncebackable F1 Singaporean GP Trip*.

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      *a.k.a I Went To The Singaporean GP And All I Got Was A Chance Encounter And A Smile From A German Racer.

      It took me a while to arrange my thoughts with a semblance of coherence, as it is a strange law of the universe that one cannot write effectively when they’re still intoxicated with joy. Now that the sobriety of real life is back, allow me to share my experience yet again.

      For the third year running, I made the short trek to Singapore to fulfill what I now call my “Yearly Pilgrimage” in the name of Pure, Racing Madness.

      This is what transpired during my trip*:

      (*P.S. Brevity is clearly not my strong suit, so be prepared for a lengthy post filled with photos & videos—you have been warned!)

      .

      Thursday: It’s hard to chill when you’re feelin’ the thrill.

      I traveled to Singapore one day ahead of my usual schedule, hoping to catch more time to soak in the atmosphere, and also so I can play the “tour guide” to a couple of friends who were first-time travelers to the country.

      Unfortunately, I was a day too late for the various PR events several drivers attended, but still, as I dragged my friend along to one of my favourite spots in the country, Orchard Road, the atmosphere was positively electric and it’s quite obvious that F1 Fever has hit the nation. And hard.

      he McLaren simulator at the Hugo Boss-McLaren exhibit inside Ion Orchard.

      More F1 simulators along Orchard Rd.

      One of the Official F1 Merchandise stores along Orchard Rd. A.k.a the apple of my eye and bane of my wallet.

      The Force India exhibit car.

      Freak-out moment when I found out that Nico H. (a.k.a. Kimi 2.0) will be making an appearance on this store–on the day I made plans to be really far away from this area. Pfft.

      .

      .

      Friday, I’m In Love.

      My precious 3-day Walkabout Tickets!

      It seems it’s now a tradition of mine to somehow miss FP1, but for good reason. I sacrificed the first practice session this year to have dinner with one of my very best friends J, who was my F1 buddy last year, but had to pass this year because she and her gracious new-husband A is expecting a baby.

      After a sumptuous dinner of modern-meets-traditional Chinese cuisine, I temporarily bid farewell to my friends to make the trek alone to the track for FP2. I’ve to admit that I was a bit distracted before, and during dinner, as the sounds of the F1 engines were truly hard to ignore as they serve as the background music to practically the whole city as we partake our nosh. Have I gotten used or immune to hearing that glorious roar yet? Of course not. For me, it’s like a secret language that welcomes me back to the place– somehow, Singapore at night is just never the same to me without my eardrums being caressed by the symphony of F1 engines.

      Reporting for duty for FP2!

      Jenson Button of McLaren gets stuck in the runoff area near Turn 14!

      Free Practice 2 was business as usual. One massive change that I’ve noticed from last year was that Red Bull fans have increased their numbers exponentially and are now as plentiful and loud as the Ferrari and McLaren fans.

      .

      .

      Saturday, Crazy Saturday.

      To maximize the trip, my friends and I decided to take the short trek (by short, I mean a 4-hour bus ride 1-way) to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, to soak in the sights, smells and sounds of Singapore’s closest neighbor.

      he first sight that greeted me as I alighted the cab in KLCC.

      I shall not get into the minute details anymore, let me just say that our brief stay there was nothing short of action-packed, and our misadventures were too many (some were quite embarrassing) to count. By the time we were finally on our way back to Singapore, I’d already missed FP3 and was dangerously close to not making Qualifying as well. My head was positively spinning as I stared at the numbers at the bus’ digital clock, willing time to move slowly in the hopes that I can still make the all-important Qualifying Sessions.

      Suffice to say, I was beyond counting minutes by the time the bus rolled into the drop-off point, as I was counting seconds by then. We all jumped into a cab and I basically instructed the driver to drive as fast as he can so I can make it to the track in time for Qualifying. The semi-confused cab driver even attempted to give me a heart attack by saying that Quali is over, but I recovered quickly enough to rebut that it was the FP3 he must be talking about, and there’s no way in the world I could have miscalculated the time enough to miss Quali. To our collective amusement, our cab driver proceeded to regale us with his exploits of driving around Singapore in a Suzuki Swift at staggering speeds without getting caught by authorities. Of course I proceeded to stoke his ego by telling him he can still be Singapore’s first F1 driver if he wants to, and I’d completely cheer for him if he ever decides to switch/upgrade careers in the future. Anything to get me to the track on time. That seemed to work as Mr. Cabbie channeled his inner Michael Schumacher/Sebastian Vettel/Kimi Raikkonen and put the pedal to the metal. After dropping us off to the nearest area where cabs are allowed to go, I still had to channel Road Runner and activate my inner KERS as I barreled through several shopping malls before I got to the Mother Ship, a.k.a Gate 7. Was a few minutes late for Q1 but who cares, I was there amidst the excited crowd, albeit mildly traumatized, hungry, short of breath, with semi-scratched legs (I had to go through shrubbery to get closer to the barrier). Oh, the things I do for racing.

      made it to the QLF Sessions just in the nick of time!

      Here are a couple of clips from the madness that was Q3:

      Vettel unsurprisingly got pole, the McLarens were hot on his heels, Webber completed the RBR sandwich, the 2 Ferraris and the 2 Mercedes cars lined up after them while the rest are ready to pounce on their every mistake. What will happen in the big race tomorrow? Will Seb be crowned as the youngest double-WDC in the Lion City?

      .

      .

      Every Sunday I Love You More And More.

      THAT Chance Encounter.

      Hectic was the word of the day once Sunday rolled around. We went to hear mass to give thanks for our collective safety and intact sanity, had a quick lunch and then went off to finish some last-minute shopping (hey, we’re women, don’t judge us!) before we decided that we have far too many carrier bags and we need to go back to the hotel to dump them before we can go to the track. We unanimously agreed to take a taxi instead of the usual commuter trains since we were in a hurry, so we and our shopping bags hobbled towards the taxi queue in luxurious Ion Orchard. There were a couple of people ahead of us and while my friends chatted amongst themselves, I tuned out and made mental plans on the fastest way to get to the track and where to position ourselves. Suddenly, I noticed this tall, blonde man join the queue with a couple of women. He looked very familiar but since my mind was somewhere else, I didn’t immediately realize who he was. What transpired went something like this, in a nutshell:

      Me: * absently looks at the guy, trying to place where I saw him or who he looks like while making plans in my head*

      Blonde Guy: *Notices me staring at him, smiles at me then looks away*

      Me: *Suddenly hit by a lightning of a realization that the blonde guy is Force India Reserve Driver Nico Hulkenberg*

      Nico Hulkenberg: *looks at me again, sees that my eyes are wide as flying saucers, smiles, then turns around and slowly takes a seat and hides behind the guy in front of him in the queue*

      Me: *pulls 1 of my friends towards me and furiously whispers my discovery*

      Taxi Queue Attendant: *shouts “Next!” and guides my friends and still a shell-shocked me inside the cab*

      So there. That’s the sitcom-like, yet true story of how I almost met Nico Hulkenberg and semi-freaked him out. Just for the record, he looks similar to Kimi Raikkonen but he looks leaner and somehow “smilier” up close. Until next time, Nico. I promise to recognize you faster and not freak you out (so much).

      .

      No Rest For The Wicked.

      And so after a few minutes of ranting and raving about that encounter in the hotel, my friend N (who happens to be a Formula One first-timer! Every year I somehow manage to convert 1 friend of mine into becoming an F1 fan. Call me if you need PR help, Mr. Ecclestone!) and I hauled our butts off to the track, but not before making a quick (pit) stop to the Swissotel to claim my friend’s ticket. I gawked at a couple of FIA officials we passed by outside the hotel but decided not to disturb them anymore as they were clearly enjoying a private cigarette break before heading to the track. My drill sargent-like obsession with punctuality prevailed amidst all the detours, and we got to the track just a few minutes late of my original estimate. Much to my delight, my “beloved spot” for the past 3 years near Turn 14 was still available and we watched it like hawks as we sat down to rest our tired legs and to enjoy the tail-end of the support race Porsche Carrera Cup.

      The latter parts of the support race Porsche Carrera Cup.

      As half-past six drew closer, we positioned ourselves as close to the barrier as possible, to have maximum viewing capacity of the track. The much-anticipated Drivers’ Parade started shortly thereafter, and fans screamed and cheered their lungs out (especially me) as their fave drivers made their way around the track, each with their own special classic car. This is one of the reasons I love the Singaporean GP, the parade is longer and the fans can see the drivers better because they’re not just lumped in one truck!

      The Safety Car signals the start of the much-awaited Driver’s Parade!

      Fernando Alonso of Scuderia Ferrari. Why so glum, hombre?

      A visibly more cheerful Felipe Massa of Ferrari.

      Jerome D’Ambrosio of Marussia Virgin. He was looking at our side because he heard the loud cheer of the 2 Belgian guys next to my friend and I.

      Heikki Kovalainen of Lotus, channeling Pinoy jeepney drivers with his white towel draped across his shoulders (Teehee).

      ALL HAIL SCHUMI!! (Yes, I did yell “I love you, Schumi!!” as he passed by, just like a proper fangirl should.)

       

      Nico Rosberg of Mercedes GP looks quite amused as he passed by groups of screaming girls.

      Bruno Senna of Lotus Renault waves at an overexcited Brazilian fan near us.

       

      Sergio Perez of Sauber chillin’ like ice cream fillin’.

      Red Bull’s no.2…er…Mark Webber.

      THE Man of the Year and the driver that got the loudest cheers: Sebastian Vettel (and his famous plaid shorts) of Red Bull!

      The view from our left side as the sun sets and the floodlights are lit!

      Before we can fully recover from seeing our fave drivers up close, the warm-up lap started, and as the cars lined up in the starting straight, I can feel the thickness of the tension and anticipation in our area, as we all seemingly held our breaths, along with our respective photographic equipment, to await the illumination of the 5 red lights to signal the start of the 4th F1 Singaporean GP!

      Pole-sitter Vettel immediately stamped his authority by taking an early lead, leaving the McLarens, Ferraris and Mercedes’ to play catch-up. The German’s Red Bull was hardly disturbed even as the cars behind him seemingly played a mash-up of musical chairs/chess and got locked in a battle of wits and tactics for positions.

      The real shocker of the night was Michael Schumacher’s retirement, which was the result of an incident with Sauber’s Sergio Perez. It took a couple of minutes before I confirmed this and although I was obviously dismayed, I had to brush it off and just focus on enjoying the remaining laps. After all, we’re talking about Schumi here, if he’s gonna go down, he’s gonna go down fighting—and that’s exactly what he did.

      The race was not short of nail-biting incidents—Timo Glock spun and hit the barriers, Massa and Hamilton’s constant on-track duels, Alonso and Webber’s cat-and-mouse routines, and even Vettel nearly getting clipped by Kovalainen in the pit lane. Unfortunately, my “jinxing powers” did not work this year as Turn 14 was undisturbed by any major racing incidents.

      Things really started to heat up once the Safety Car Period began and teams regrouped and revised their respective tactics:

      An HRT clipping the barriers:

      Here’s a clip of Jarno Trulli getting a ride back to the pits after his retirement:

      .

      Surprisingly, former Singaporean GP race winners Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, who both started the race strongly, became hugely inconspicuous as the race wore on. And by inconspicuous, I mean ultimately coming up short in challenging for a win.

      Golden boy Vettel romped his way to the Chequered Flag, with McLaren’s Jenson Button and teammate Mark Webber behind him. 17 more cars survived the challenge and crossed the finish line. Button’s 2nd place finish meant that Vettel still needed 1 measly point in the next round to confirm his 2011 WDC title, but that technicality hardly mattered as Red Bull and even rival fans applauded the German heartily as he did his Salute Lap to the crowd.

      As the dust settled and the marshalls opened the track for the crowd, there’s really only one thing left to do: PARTY!

      .

      Remnants I nicked from a barrier that got clipped.

      .

      So there you go, eight months of planning, anticipation and excitement, all compressed into four absolutely grandtastic action-packed days.

      There’s no tidy ultimate conclusion for all this–In racing, you take both the good and the bad. You don’t dwell on the negatives nor over-exalt the positives, what matters most is the experience as a whole. This is why I find it so difficult to turn down the chance to watch the race in person–it reminds me to fully appreciate and soak in those fleeting episodes in life when you are simply in the moment.

      May you too, give in to the wonderful temptation. It’s well worth it, believe me.

      ——————————————————————————————–

      Here are my Customary “Helpful Hints” for a more enjoyable Singaporean GP Experience:

      • If you can afford to, travel to Singapore ahead and arrive on the Tuesday or Wednesday of the race weekend. The F1 circus usually arrives on a Tuesday, so you might just bump into some of them on the airport. The meet-and-greets and sponsor events are usually held on Wednesday, just around various points at Orchard Road, so there’s a good chance you can get up-close to your fave driver! (I will certainly heed this advice and arrive on a Wednesday next year!)
      • If you want to do your very own “track walk”, the track is open to the public until the Wednesday of the race weekend (Again, a chance to bump into F1 personalities!).
      • Upon getting to Singapore, you might want to purchase the Singapore Tourist Pass (www.singaporetouristpass.com for more info), a card that works for all train and almost all bus lines in the country. You can get a 1-, 2- or 3-day pass which will give you unlimited access to public transportation around the city. Screw taking expensive cab rides, in Singapore, taking public transportation is where it’s at!
      • If you want to know which other important spots to visit in between F1 schedules, head on over to the Singapore Visitors Centre and consult their ever-friendly staff. (Bonus: You can also get free leg and foot massages there after shopping at Orchard Road!)
      • For smartphone users, you might want to download the Singapore Street Directory App. It has a cool feature that not only gives you directions but also gives you extremely detailed transportation options, down to the exact fare prices! (Check out http://www.streetdirectory.com to try it out.)
      • Every year, various weather forecasts predict some rain during the race weekend, and yet every year, my ardent prayers have somehow fended them off (or at least, that’s what I choose to believe). Even so, bring a disposable poncho or your own raincoat/mac when you go the track, as well as your own set of earplugs as well. If you’re too lazy to bring some, you can always buy the “Survival Kit” on-site for the price of 2.00 Sgd. I’m a cheapo though, so I always bring my own.
      • Wear comfortable clothing and footwear! I cannot stress this enough, as you will be walking a LOT amidst heat and humidity, and this is not the time to channel your inner supermodel or fashionista. If, like me, you have a preference for getting the Walkabout Zone tickets, then expect to stand for a couple of hours, at the least, so you better damn make sure that your feet are in comfortable gear to support you.
      • Speaking of heat and humidity, each spectator is allowed to bring in 500ml of bottled water inside the track, so if you want to save some dollars it’s better to buy from the various convenience stores outside the track as the beverage prices inside the track are a bit more expensive.
      • Always have your ticket/s with you, as loads of stores around Singapore offer discounts and freebies if you are part of the F1 crowd.
      • Pack light. I don’t always heed this advice because I almost always shop before heading to the track, but if you don’t want the hassle of having several bags inspected at the entrance, just bring the absolute essentials. Also, read the tiny brochure that comes with your ticket/s and review the list of what you can and cannot bring inside the track.
      • Unfortunately, there’s no free Wi-Fi zone inside the track (at least where Zone 4 is), so if you want to be able to update your status on various social networking sites, make sure that your mobile phone/tablet is able to connect to the web through your local service provider. You can also buy prepaid Singaporean SIM cards in convenience stores and shops and just register for their data service promotions while you’re there.
      • Speaking of gadgets, make sure to fully recharge your mobile phones and digital cameras, or better yet, bring extra batteries, just in case! It’s also good to bring extra memory cards as well so you won’t have to worry about running out of disk space for your precious racing photos and videos.
      • Explore the whole track if you can! This year, there was a complimentary tattoo booth, the usual classic car exhibit, race simulator challenge booth, and various photo stations where you can channel your inner F1 driver.
      • After the race on Sunday, the track is opened for the whole audience to enjoy. Go ahead and kiss the ground where your fave driver raced on! (If that’s your thing, that is.)
      • Make some noise! You’re not in a library, so don’t be afraid to cheer, whoop and scream for your favorite drivers and teams!
      • Above all, let loose and have fun!

      If You Can’t Pass Them, Tweet Them: Racers On Twitter.

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      Racers, Pilots, Drivers, Riders, Speedsters–whatever you choose to call them, they have been pecked by that naughty blue bird and have drifted their way towards the Twitterverse:

      Are they motormouths or cool cruisers? Are they a gas or do their wits run out of steam? What pushes their buttons? What did they just have for dinner? Well, there’s only one way for you to find out–Click away!

      Active:

      Jaime Alguersuari- http://twitter.com/AlguersuariJA

      Keith Amor- http://twitter.com/keithamor

      John Andretti- http://twitter.com/John_Andretti

      Marco Andretti- http://twitter.com/Andretti26

      Hector Barbera- http://twitter.com/HectorBarbera

      Alvaro Bautista- http://twitter.com/19Bautista

      Troy Bayliss- http://twitter.com/TroyBaylisstic

      Loris Baz- http://twitter.com/lorisbaz

      Ana Beatriz- http://twitter.com/Biaracing

      Jorg Bergmeister- http://twitter.com/JBergmeister

      Enrique Bernoldi- http://twitter.com/ebernoldi

      Khalil Beschir- http://twitter.com/khalilbeschir

      Jules Bianchi- http://twitter.com/Jules_Bianchi

      Jeroen Bleekemolen- http://twitter.com/jbleekemolen

      Ryan Briscoe- http://twitter.com/RyanBriscoe6

      Josh Brookes- http://twitter.com/JoshBrookes

      Kyle Busch- http://twitter.com/KyleBusch

      Jenson Button- http://twitter.com/JensonButton

      Sebastian Buemi- http://twitter.com/Sebastien_buemi

      Shane Shakey Byrne- http://twitter.com/67Shakey

      Leon Camier- http://twitter.com/leoncamier

      Ricky Cardus- http://twitter.com/rickycardus88

      Ricky Carmichael- http://twitter.com/RickyCarmichael

      Helio Castroneves- http://twitter.com/h3lio

      Johnny Cecotto Jr.- http://twitter.com/jcecotto

      Karun Chandhok- http://twitter.com/karunchandhok

      Jan Charouz- http://twitter.com/JanCharouz

      Carlos Checa- http://twitter.com/CarlosCheca7

      Dan Clarke- http://twitter.com/SpeedyDanClarke

      Ben Collins- http://twitter.com/BenCollinsDrive

      Michael Conway- http://twitter.com/Mikeconwayindy

      Cal Crutchlow- http://twitter.com/calcrutchlow

      Jerome D’Ambrosio- http://twitter.com/thereal_JDA

      Anthony Davidson- http://twitter.com/antdavidson

      Chaz Davies- http://twitter.com/chazdavies

      Pedro Dela Rosa- http://twitter.com/PedrodelaRosa1

      Randy de Puniet- http://twitter.com/randydepuniet14

      Lucas DiGrassi- http://twitter.com/LucasdiGrassi

      Paul DiResta-http://twitter.com/pauldirestaf1

      Scott Dixon- http://twitter.com/scottdixon9

      Robert Doornbos- http://twitter.com/bobbydracing

      Andrea Dovizioso- http://twitter.com/AndreaDovizioso

      Colin Edwards- http://twitter.com/texastornado5

      Casper Elgaard- http://twitter.com/CasperElgaard

      James Ellison- http://twitter.com/racingellison

      Aleix Espargaro- http://twitter.com/AleixEspargaro

      Augusto Farfus- http://twitter.com/augustofarfus

      Nico Ferreira- http://twitter.com/nicoferreira14

      Sarah Fisher- http://twitter.com/SarahFisher67

      Dario Franchitti- http://twitter.com/dariofranchitti

      Marino Franchitti- http://twitter.com/MFranchitti

      Oliver Gavin- http://twitter.com/olivergavin

      Jeff Gordon- http://twitter.com/jeffgordonweb

      Robby Gordon- http://twitter.com/RobbyGordon

      Timo Glock- http://twitter.com/realTimoGlock

      Romain Grosjean- http://twitter.com/RGrosjean

      Esteban Gutierrez- http://twitter.com/EstebanGtz

      Liz Halliday- http://twitter.com/lizhalliday

      Lewis Hamilton-  http://twitter.com/LewisHamilton

      Nicolas Hamilton- http://twitter.com/nicolashamilton

      Joey Hand- http://twitter.com/JoeyHandRacing

      Leon Haslam- http://twitter.com/realleonhaslam

      Nicky Hayden- http://twitter.com/NickyHayden69

      Roger Hayden- http://twitter.com/rogerhayden95

      Nick Heidfeld- http://twitter.com/NickHeidfeld

      Bryan Herta- http://twitter.com/BHA

      JR Hildebrand- http://twitter.com/JRHildebrand

      Tommy Hill- http://twitter.com/tommyhill33

      James Hinchcliffe- http://twitter.com/Hinchtown

      Mikko Hirvonen- http://twitter.com/MikkoWRC

      Alex Hoffman- http://twitter.com/Alex_66

      John Hopkins- http://twitter.com/JHopper21

      Ron Hornaday- http://twitter.com/RonHornaday

      Rob Huff- http://twitter.com/Huffsport

      Nico Hulkenberg- http://twitter.com/NicoHulkenberg

      Ryan Hunter-Reay- http://twitter.com/RyanHunterReay

      Jasper Iwema- http://twitter.com/JasperIwema53

      Neel Jani- http://twitter.com/neeljani

      Nabil Jeffri- http://twitter.com/nabiljeffri

      Jimmie Johnson- http://twitter.com/JimmieJohnson

      Michel Jourdain- http://twitter.com/MichelJourdain

      Julien Jousse- http://twitter.com/Julien_Jousse

      Pierre Kaffer- http://twitter.com/Pierre_Kaffer

      Kasey Kahne- http://twitter.com/kaseykahne

      Tony Kanaan- http://twitter.com/TonyKanaan

      Narain Karthikeyan- http://twitter.com/narainracing

      Tom Kimber-Smith- http://twitter.com/TKS77

      Heikki Kovalainen- http://twitter.com/H_Kovalainen

      Nicolas Lapierre- http://twitter.com/Nico_Lapierre

      Eugene Laverty- http://twitter.com/eugenelaverty

      Michael Laverty- http://twitter.com/MichaelLaverty

      Dan Linfoot- http://twitter.com/danlinfoot

      Alex Lloyd- http://twitter.com/alex_lloyd

      Patrick Long- http://twitter.com/pLmotorsport

      Jorge Lorenzo- http://twitter.com/lorenzo99

      Sam Lowes- http://twitter.com/SamLowes11

      Lucas Luhr- http://twitter.com/luxll01

      Pastor Maldonado- http://twitter.com/Pastormaldo

      Leo Mansell- http://twitter.com/leomansell

      Marc Marquez- http://twitter.com/cxmarcmarquez

      Kosuke Matsuura- http://twitter.com/KosukeMatsuura

      Perry McCarthy- http://twitter.com/Original_Stig

      Gary McCoy- http://twitter.com/GarryMcCoy

      Taylor McKenzie- http://twitter.com/taylormac77

      Allan McNish-http://twitter.com/AllanMcNish

      Marco Melandri- http://twitter.com/MarcoMelandri33

      Andy Meyrick- http://twitter.com/AndyMeyrick

      Kevin Mirocha- http://twitter.com/KevinMirocha

      Tiago Monteiro- http://twitter.com/Tiagosworld18

      Juan Pablo Montoya- http://twitter.com/jpmontoya

      Mario Moraes- http://twitter.com/mariomoraesindy

      Johnny Mowlem- http://twitter.com/johnnymowlem

      Dirk Mueller- http://twitter.com/muellerdirk

      Bernard Munster- http://twitter.com/bernardmunster

      Ryan Newman- http://twitter.com/RyanNewman39

      Fonsi Nieto- http://twitter.com/fonsi_nieto

      Pablo Nieto- http://twitter.com/pablonieto22

      Kenny Noyes- http://twitter.com/KennyNoyes

      Diego Nunes- http://twitter.com/Nunes_stockcar

      Joan Olive- http://twitter.com/joanolive

      João Paulo Oliveira- http://twitter.com/JPdeOliveira

      Tom Onslow-Cole- http://twitter.com/tomonslowcole

      Lucas Ordonez- http://twitter.com/Lucas_Ordonez

      Mads Ostberg- http://twitter.com/MadsOstberg

      Gary Paffett- http://twitter.com/GaryPaffett

      Olivier Panis- http://twitter.com/olivier_panis

      Max Papis- http://twitter.com/maxpapis

      Danica Patrick- http://twitter.com/DanicaPatrick

      Sergio Perez- http://twitter.com/checoperez17

      Vitaly Petrov- http://twitter.com/vitalypetrov10

      Nelson Piquet Jr.-  http://twitter.com/NelsonPiquet

      Andrew Pitt- http://twitter.com/andrewpitt88

      Antonio Pizzonia- http://twitter.com/AntonioPizzonia

      Jason Plato- http://twitter.com/jasonplato

      Will Power- http://twitter.com/12WillPower

      Andy Priaulx- http://twitter.com/andypriaulx

      Harold Primat- http://twitter.com/Harold_Primat

      Martin Prokop- http://twitter.com/MartinProkop

      Graham Rahal- http://twitter.com/GrahamRahal

      Luis Razia- http://twitter.com/luizrazia

      Gino Rea- http://twitter.com/GinoRea

      Jonathan Rea- http://twitter.com/jonathanrea

      Scott Redding- http://twitter.com/scottredding45

      David Reutimann- http://twitter.com/DavidReutimann

      Tuka Rocha- http://twitter.com/tukarocha

      Nico Rosberg- http://twitter.com/nico_rosberg

      Valentino Rossi- http://twitter.com/ValeYellow46

      James Rossiter- http://twitter.com/Rossiterracing

      Patrick Sandell- http://twitter.com/patriksandell

      Takuma Sato- http://twitter.com/TakumaSatoRacer

      Tomas Scheckter- http://twitter.com/tomasscheckter

      Bruno Senna- http://twitter.com/BSenna

      Julian Simon- http://twitter.com/JulianSimon60

      Allan Simonsen- http://twitter.com/AllanSimonsen

      Bradley Smith- http://twitter.com/reddingpower

      Guy Smith- http://twitter.com/GUYSMITH16

      Andy Soucek- http://twitter.com/ASoucek

      Petter Solberg- http://twitter.com/Petter_Solberg

      Scott Speed- http://twitter.com/scottspeed

      Ben Spies- http://twitter.com/BenSpies11

      Ricky Stenhouse Jr.- http://twitter.com/StenhouseJr

      Marlon Stockinger- http://twitter.com/imstockinger

      Jonathan Summerton- http://twitter.com/JSummerton

      Rafael Suzuki- http://twitter.com/rafaelsuzuki

      Alex Tagliani- http://twitter.com/tagliani

      Yuki Takahashi- http://twitter.com/takahashiyuki72

      Nico Terol- http://twitter.com/nicoterol

      Paul Tracy- http://twitter.com/paultracy3

      Martin Truex Jr.- http://twitter.com/MartinTruexJr56

      Darren Turner- http://twitter.com/DarrenTurner007

      Davide Valsecchi- http://twitter.com/davidevalsecchi

      Giedo Van der Garde- http://twitter.com/GvanderGarde

      Pål Varhaug- http://twitter.com/varhaug

      Chris Vermeulen- http://twitter.com/chrisvermeulen7

      Stalker Chris Walker- http://twitter.com/CWStalker9

      Danny Webb- http://twitter.com/DannyWebb99

      Mark Webber- http://twitter.com/AussieGrit

      Richard Westbrook- http://twitter.com/RWestbrook1

      James Westmoreland- http://twitter.com/WestyBSS3

      Dan Wheldon- http://twitter.com/danwheldon

      Robert Wickens- http://twitter.com/robertwickens

      Justin Wilson- http://twitter.com/JustinWilson22

      Alex Wurz- http://twitter.com/alex_wurz

      Gustavo Yacaman- http://twitter.com/GustavoYacaman

      Sakon Yamamoto- http://twitter.com/SakonYamamoto

      Roger Yasukawa- http://twitter.com/RogerYasukawa

      .

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      Retired:

      Jean Alesi- http://twitter.com/Alesi_Officiel

      Mario Andretti- http://twitter.com/MarioAndretti

      Alex Barros- http://twitter.com/alexbarrosrider

      Mark Blundell- http://twitter.com/markblundellF1

      Martin Brundle- http://twitter.com/MBrundleF1

      Christian Fittipaldi- http://twitter.com/fittitweet

      Emerson Fittipaldi- http://twitter.com/emmofittipaldi

      Johnny Herbert- http://twitter.com/johnnyherbertf1

      Alex Hoffman- http://twitter.com/Alex_66

      Nigel Mansell- http://twitter.com/Mansell_Nigel

      Perry McCarthy- http://twitter.com/Original_Stig

      Jeremy McWilliams- http://twitter.com/McWill99

      Sir Stirling Moss- http://twitter.com/StirlingMossCom

      Kyle Petty- http://twitter.com/kylepetty

      Kevin Schwantz- http://twitter.com/KevinSchwantz

      Ari Vatanen- http://twitter.com/AriVatanen

      Alex Yoong- http://twitter.com/alexyoong

      Alex Zanardi- http://twitter.com/lxznr

      .

      .

      I know I’ve missed loads of racers still. So, if you know of any other Official Twitter accounts, please leave a comment below and I’ll update the list immediately. Thank you!

      Achtung, Baby: A Poem for Nick Heidfeld*.

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      *In honor of his valiant Malaysian GP 2011 drive.

      ——-

      Quick Nick is his name,
      Formula One is his game.

      He wore yellow and black,
      From the start, blitzed the pack.

      Unpredictable, his pace,
      Surprised in so many ways.

      He pushed ever so well,
      His rivals went, “What the hell?”

      Degrading tyres? Never mind,
      A calmer driver, you shan’t find.

      The fight went down the wire,
      Drove like his bum was on fire.

      His first win, he’s still chasing,
      Go on son, just keep racing!

      He’s the Driver of the Day,
      Made neutral fans go, “Hooray!”

      What makes him good may sound weird,
      His mojo’s stored in his beard.

      Keep up this charge, Quick Nick,
      May Lady Luck with you, stick!

       

       

      Didn't I tell you he's a Firework?

      Presenting The Class of 2011: F1 Drivers and Their Theme Songs.

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      Spare a thought for us, ardent racing fans. We’ve all endured months of motorsport drought, at times desperately pressing Refresh on our web browsers to check on the latest news, gossip and developments from our favourite websites and scouring numerous forums for video clips of the past seasons to analyze and tide us over until March rolls along. Now, the wait is almost over–but before we can formally welcome the new season, we must meet the main characters of this year’s sitcom/soap opera/circus. Who will be the heroes and who will be the villains? We all have to stay tuned to find out.

      Meanwhile, if F1 drivers should have their own theme songs, what will they be?

      "The winner takes it all...The The loser has to faallll...It’s simple and it’s plain Why should I complain...?"

      Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)- The Winner Takes It All by Abba

      While his infamous sense of humor makes him the perfect candidate to spontaneously bust out Abba songs during videoke nights, this gangly German is all business when it comes to racing. Going all out on a crucial race even if it means banging into his teammate and being unapologetic for his status as the team’s “favoured driver”, he ain’t called “Baby Schumi” for nothing. Expect the youngest WDC to use all his grit in the fight to keep his title. And then, maybe, he’ll treat us to a rendition of an Abba song afterward for our entertainment.

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      "My stupid mouth, has got me in trouble. I said too much again..."

      Mark Webber (Red Bull)- My Stupid Mouth by John Mayer

      F1’s very own motor-mouth has gained equal parts supporters and critics with his unusual way of publicly voicing out his uncensored opinion before settling disputes and misunderstandings with his teammate, bosses and rival drivers. But let’s face it, F1 will definitely be less interesting without his unique brand of candor and perspective, so let’s hope this Aussie continues to rev up his 2nd engine, as he attempts to prove he’s nobody’s lapdog this season. Get your earplugs ready, people!

      .

      .

      "Everybody's talkin' all this stuff about me, why can't they just let me live? I don't need permission, make my own decisions, that's my prerogative..."

      Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)-My Prerogative by Bobby Brown

      If winning a WDC gives a driver added moxie, then it’s small wonder that Nando has double the amount of what’s legal in terms of confidence (some will say arrogance). He wears his heart on his sleeve and is not averse to going to the extremes to get what he wants (just ask Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Vitaly Petrov. etc. etc.), when he wants it. He’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea (or should that be sangria?), but as long as his hands are firmly grasping a winner’s trophy, this bushy-eyebrowed Spaniard is muy happy.

      .

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      "Aint about how fast I get there, ain't about what's waiting on the other siiide...It's the cliiimmmbbb..."

      Felipe Massa (Ferrari)- The Climb by Miley Cyrus

      He was the driver the Scuderia retained over the likes of Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen (insert collective gasp here), so shouldn’t he have won at least 1 WDC by now? Whether it’s by unfortunate circumstances (note his horrific accident in the 2009 Hungarian GP weekend) or by some unexplained forces, this Brazilian’s quest for his first Championship is proving to be quite a Climb, indeed. Take heed from Ms. Cyrus’ “wise words”, Felipe: Ain’t about how fast you get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the Cliiimbbb…

      .

      .

      "Push it, make the beats go harder...Pu-pu-push it!"

      Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)- Push It by Garbage

      He was groomed to be the boy-next-door, mothers-grandmas-and-fluffy-puppies-love-him F1 ambassador since Day 1 of his career, but his boyish looks belie the hard-as-nails driver persona which surfaces every time he dons his yellow helmet. Fellow drivers must not be fooled by his innocent gap-toothed smile, when he’s in his silver McLaren car, he is unafraid to push the limits, so much so that even Canadian beavers scamper away when they see and hear him approaching.

      .

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      "You can't always get what you want...But if you try sometimes you might find...You get what you need..."

      Jenson Button (McLaren)- You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones

      It seems never a race passes by without this Englishman being caught on team radio complaining about something in his car: Whether it be vibrations, tyre choice, car balance, or his cup of tea not being hot enough or having enough sugars (okay, I added that last bit), it’s truly an event when he comes out of the car and says he’s “happy” with it. It is hoped that this season, Mr. Button will do more racing and less whinging. Put that 2009 WDC racing skills to good use, will you?

      .

      .

      "And more, much more than this...I did it Myyyyy Wayyyyyy..."

      Michael Schumacher (Mercedes GP)- My Way by Frank Sinatra

      Say it with me: He’s won it 7 Times. Making an F1 comeback in an age considered ancient by critics is something weak-hearted drivers will not even attempt to do. He does things his own way, never mind what the other drivers and the critics will say. Then again, he is THE Michael Schumacher, the driver that represented a whole era of the sport, and if 7 titles do not give him some sort of entitlement to have some swagger around the paddock, then I don’t know what will. Oh, and he’s probably the only driver in the group (except maybe Rubens) who knows the lyrics to this song.

      .

      .

      "You're so vain...I bet you think this song is about you, you're soooo vain..."

      Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP)-You’re So Vain by Carly Simon

      Sometimes, you have to feel for poor Nico Rosberg: He’s a more-than-decent racer, he seems like a nice guy, and it’s quite difficult to dislike him, but why in heavens’ sake is he more known for having the monicker “Britney” inside and outside the paddock? Perhaps it’s high time for him to stop worrying about the state of his golden locks (although I have to admit they are magnificent) and focus more on what his job description primarily entails: winning and collecting points. And fulfilling his potential as The Next Big Thing. P.S. Can you imagine the reaction in the paddock if he ever decides to shave all of his hair off? Just a thought.

      .

      .

      "Baby you're a Fiiireeework... Come on show them what you're worth! Make them go Ohh Ohh Ohhh...As you shoot across the skyyy..."

      Nick Heidfeld (Lotus Renault)- Firework by Katy Perry

      While it is rather unfortunate that this hardworking German has always been eclipsed by his teammates, his loyal followers will always believe that he is bound to snatch that elusive first race win soon enough. He may not have the flamboyance nor the showmanship of his fellow drivers, but he wasn’t nicknamed ‘Quick Nick’ for nothing. So go grab that brown manbag of yours and show them what you’re worth this season, Nick! P.S. Hopefully, he decides to repeat his infamous dance moves and do them in the podium when (not if) he gets his race win. That would be Epic.

      .

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      "So, you're a rocket scientist...That don't impress me much."

      Vitaly Petrov (Lotus Renault)- That Don’t Impress Me Much by Shania Twain

      The man who marches to the beat of his own drums, the driver who is not fazed by rumours of being replaced by Kimi Raikkonen and refused to kowtow to a double-WDC winner when a Championship is on the line. At times he is completely anonymous, but when he makes his presence felt, he makes sure it’s headline-worthy. So unless you can offer something so extraordinarily out-of-this-world, I’m sorry, but this Russian is just simply too hard to impress.

      .

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      "This is my quest, to follow that star...No matter how hopeless, no matter how faaar..."

      Rubens Barrichello (Williams)- The Impossible Dream by Jack Jones

      We have to give credit when credit is due–Rubens is now an institution to F1, considering that he’s still out there and banging wheels with other drivers who still wore nappies when he was already rubbing elbows with the now-legendary drivers. However, much like Felipe Massa, his continuous attempt to win a WDC may just become a mere pipe dream. No harm in trying, though. So carry on, Rubens, if for anything, at least Schumi still has a batchmate to reminisce those ‘good ‘ol times’ with.

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      "Your technique it leaves me weak...My heart knows it's the beat I seek...(And I found it)...Just got lucky...Just got lucky..."

      Pastor Maldonado (Williams)- Just Got Lucky by Jo Boxers

      Wrangling a racing seat away from the 2010 Brazilian GP pole-sitter and ex-GP2 champ Nico Hulkenberg is no easy feat, and although the cynics say his hiring was more brought about by cold business and the element of luck, this GP2 Champ will be determined to prove his worth and make Williams fans forget about the Golden Boy he supposedly dethroned.

      .

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      "Now I'm walking on sunshine (whoa oh) Said I'm walking on sunshine (whoa oh) Said I'm walking on sunshine (whoa oh) And its startin' to feel good..."

      Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus)- Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves

      Heikki seemed to have missed the “Poker Face” memo circulated among Finnish racing drivers, but that amazingly worked to his advantage. In a racing series that was dominated by the icy-coolness of Raikkonen and Hakkinen, his eternal optimism and ready cheery smile is a breath of fresh air for some fans. Plus, his hardwork, quick-thinking (remember his stint as a firefighter in the 2010 Singapore GP?) and go-go-go attitude makes him a perfect team player, indeed.

      .

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      "Do it nice and easy now don't lose control...A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul...So come on, come on,Do the loco-motion with meeee..."

      Jarno Trulli (Lotus)- Locomotion by Kylie Minogue

      Seriously, you have not been an F1 fan long enough if you don’t immediately deduce the connection between Jarno and this song. Although he has not driven absolute duds during his career, fellow drivers have always dreaded the thought of being stuck behind “The Trulli Train” at any point in a race. Besides, I bet Jarno must have busted some swell moves to this tune at least once during his younger days.

      .

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      "I don't wanna rock, dj...But you're making me feel so nice. When's this gonna stop, dj? You'll be keeping me up all night..."

      Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso)- Rock DJ by Robbie Williams

      This youngest-ever F1 driver makes incurring penalties from Race Control positively cool. And then goes on to produce sick beats in honor of them. Youth is certainly not wasted on this lad. Future Champ/Icon in the making? Perhaps. I bet he surreptitiously unplugs his earphones from the car radio during races and connects them to his iPod instead. Rock on, Mr. Racer by Day, DJ by night.

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      .

      "Woohoo! When I feel heavy metal...Woohoo! And I'm pins and I'm needles! Woohoo! Well I lie and I'm easy...All of the time I am never sure why I need you..."

      Sebastian Buemi (Toro Rosso)- Song 2 by Blur

      He’s not as outspoken nor as headline-worthy as his teammate, but there’s something about Buemi that’s just intriguing. Is it his mysterious aura? Or is it just because you can’t help but cheer him on when he brashly takes on the more experienced drivers on track? Whatever it is, this song is much like Buemi, it doesn’t always make sense, but somehow, it works.

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      "Take on me...Take me on...I'll be gone In a day or two..."

      Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)- Take On Me by A-ha

      Hailed by some fans as The Second Coming of Takuma Sato, this fearless Japanese driver has accumulated a cult following because of his impressive defensive driving skills on racedays. He doesn’t care which team you’re from or what credentials you have, if you want to pass him, you have to take him on with all driving skills you have. Good luck with that!

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      "Waiting for tonight, whoaaa...when you will be here in my arms...Waiting for tonight...whoaaa..."

      Sergio Perez (Sauber)- Waiting for Tonight by Jennifer Lopez

      So Alguersuari finally gets a playmate who’s born within the same decade as he was. Sergio may be a new kid on the F1 block, but his racing CV is already as long as a pitlane (okay, I jest). He’s been waiting for this chance all his life and now is the time to dig deep and give it all he has. Besides, he’s probably the only one who can do justice to this song’s Latin beats. Ole!

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      "N-n-now that that don't kill me...Can only make me stronger...I need you to hurry up now...'Cause I can't wait much longer..."

      Adrian Sutil (Force India)- Stronger by Kanye West

      Unflappable. No amount of shunts, crashes nor catfights will dampen the spirit of this…gentle driver, and with every year that he stays in F1, he is getting closer and closer to a podium finish. Can we expect a more ‘gangsta’ Sutil to come out this season? Hopefully.

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      "Finally it has happened to me, Right in front of my face My feelin's can't descri-ibe it, Finally it has happened to me Right in front of my face, And I just cannot hi-ide it..."

      Paul diResta (Force India)- Finally by CeCe Peniston

      At long last, the boy has made it into F1! Is he worth the wait, and can he justify the team’s decision to pick him over the more experienced Hulkenberg? For now, all he has to do is to sit back and enjoy his ride, for no one can predict if he can hold on to it for the whole season.

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      "So many tears I've cried...So much pain inside...But baby it ain't over 'til it's over..."

      Narain Kathikeyan (HRT)- It Ain\’t Over \’Til It\’s Over by Lenny Kravitz

      It’s probably safe to bet that this driver’s favourite saying is “Try and try until you succeed”, judging by his colourful and ‘interesting’ journey in F1. Will his accumulated driving experience in other series help him revive his F1 career? well, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.

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      "When the road gets dark...And you can no longer see...Just let my love throw a spark... And have a little faith in me..."

      Vitantonio Liuzzi (HRT)- Have A Little Faith In Me by John Hiatt

      He may not stay long enough in teams to become eligible for the Employee of the Year Award, but you have to give props to Tonio’s ability in besting younger drivers and snagging racing seats when it matters. Proof that sometimes, experience is preferred over youth and hype, if he can keep the car firmly on the track in as many races as possible, then his work is half done.

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      "Hello silence, my old friend...I've come to talk with you again..."

      Timo Glock (Virgin)- The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel

      Barring his involvement in the 2008 Brazilian GP WDC-gate, this quiet German has remained largely inconspicuous, although he does manage to pull out moments of brilliance when needed (note his 2009 Malaysian GP podium finish). He may have to endure wisecracks on his recent appendectomy going into the season-opener, but he’s still Virgin’s best hope in popping their point-less cherry (Yeah, I just had to use that pun. Deal with it).

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      "Let it be...Let it be...Let it be...Let it be...Speaking words of wisdom, let it beee..."

      Jerome D’Ambrosio (Virgin)- Let It Be by The Beatles

      So he’s the first Belgian racer F1 will have in several years. The question is, will he become a dominant force (especially in Spa-Francorchamps) or a disappointing dud? He hasn’t exactly had a sterling start to his F1 career (causing 2 red flags during testing), but perhaps it’s best to hold off on judgments first and just…let him be.

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      Have you picked your bets yet? Choose wisely and buckle up, this season is going to be a cracker.