I spent 4 days in Singapore attending the first F1 night race, the 2008 Singapore F1 Grand Prix. In the coming days I will be alternating reports about the race with normal Fitzroy content. Anyone who cares about F1 will already know the results of the race (Spanish driver Fernando Alonso unexpectedly won a tumultuous race). I hope that what I write about will have far wider appeal, and showcase what it was like to be there.
Apart from some relatively minor problems and inconveniences, this was the most exciting race I have ever attended (this includes the 1995 Australian F1 GP at Adelaide, the spectacular 2000 Le Mans Race of a 1000 Years at Adelaide (held over 6 hours 4-10pm), and the 2003-2008 Australian F1 GPs at Melbourne). The F1 track lighting in Singapore was magnificent and quite different to anything I have experienced before. There are some brilliant photos on Flickr.
I watched the race from the walkabout (general admission) area next to the Esplanade arts complex on the inside of the corner at the end of the Esplanade bridge straight (turn 14) surrounded by Brazilian fans. As the race went on they became sadder and sadder as all three Brazilian drivers dropped out of contention or out of the race altogether: Massa due to the Ferrari pit refuelling error, Piquet after crashing and Barrichello because his engine failed.
As he was carried on the back of a marshal’s motorbike through the secure corridor on the other side of the track Barrichello saw the Brazilian flags where we were and gave us a wave. It was poor consolation for hours spent securing the best place to watch the race expecting to see a Brazilian (Massa) win, but I was still elated to be there. I too wanted to see Massa win, and his fate devastated many in the crowd.