Did you know that Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have only finished off the podium in Singapore twice, or that the safety car has featured in every race at Marina Bay to date? We take a look at the most fascinating stats and trivia ahead of this weekend's 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix...
This year sees Singapore host its eighth world championship Grand Prix, all of which have been at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The inaugural event in 2008 was the first F1 race to be run at night under floodlights and was won, somewhat controversially, by Renault’s Fernando Alonso.
Speaking of Alonso, the Spaniard has finished in the points in all seven races in Singapore to date, and has finished on the podium in five of them - an impressive record matched only by Sebastian Vettel. Vettel, however, has three race victories to Alonso’s two, and is also the only driver to have won in consecutive years (doing so in 2011, 2012 and 2013). Like Alonso, Lewis Hamilton has also claimed a pair of wins at the street track, and can also boast the record for most pole positions at the circuit with three.
Hamilton may have scored a ‘grand slam’ (pole, win, fastest lap, led every lap) at the last round in Italy, but Alonso and Vettel are the only drivers to have scored one in a race at Marina Bay. Vettel’s 2013 grand slam (or grand chelem as it’s often known) was the third of his career, whereas Alonso’s 2010 version was his first (and as yet only).
Only six drivers have won a world championship Grand Prix from further back on the grid than the 15th position that Alonso started from in Singapore in 2008. However, the Spaniard’s achievement is slightly tainted by the fact that his path to victory was aided (without Alonso’s knowledge) by team mate Nelson Piquet Jr deliberately crashing and bringing out the safety car at a convenient moment.
Speaking of crashes and safety cars, shunts have been a common feature of races in Singapore, so much so that the safety car has been deployed at least once in every Grand Prix at Marina Bay to date. There have been a total of 10 deployments over the seven previous races.
Red Bull are overwhelmingly the most successful team in Singapore Grand Prix history having taken four wins and eight podium finishes. They are also the only team to have led over 100 laps at Marina Bay. Mercedes, by contrast, have only recorded one podium finish in Singapore in five races - that was Hamilton’s win last year.
The Marina Bay Street Circuit has more corners than any other circuit on the calendar - 23 (14 left handers and 9 right handers). The fact that most of these are fairly tight in nature helps contribute to Singapore having one of the longest average lap times on the calendar, comparable only to Spa-Francorchamps which is some 1.939 km greater in length.
The relatively slow nature of the circuit - and the propensity for safety cars - means it takes longer than average to complete the 305 km minimum race distance. As a result, Singapore is almost always the longest race of the season. None of the previous seven races in Singapore has been completed in under 1 hour 56 minutes.
The smallest winning margin in Singapore Grand Prix history came in 2010 when Alonso beat Vettel by just 0.239s. Coincidentally the biggest winning margin at the venue involved the same two drivers and came in 2013 when Vettel finished 32.627s ahead of Alonso. That was one of only two occasions in the race’s history when the margin of victory has been over 10s. The other was last year when Hamilton beat Vettel by 13.534s.
Sebastian Vettel holds the lap record at Marina Bay, the German taking his Red Bull around in 1m 48.574s in the 2013 race. Countryman Nico Hulkenberg scored his only race fastest lap at the circuit in 2012.
As with any street circuit, overtaking is tricky in Singapore, making pole position even more valuable than usual. In fact, the pole sitter has won five of the seven previous races at Marina Bay (71 percent).
On the subject of pole positions, Mercedes go into this weekend looking to tie Williams’ long standing record of 24 consecutive P1 starts, which was set across the 1992/93 campaigns.
Hamilton meanwhile is chasing his eighth pole position in a row, which would move him level with Ayrton Senna’s all-time record for consecutive poles. The Briton is also in search of his 20th straight front row start, which, if he achieves it, would leave him just four short of all-time record (which is also held by Senna).
Speaking of Senna and Hamilton, a victory this weekend would move the Mercedes star level with the great Brazilian (and Vettel) on 41 career victories. Coincidentally, Senna achieved that tally across 161 race starts, and you guessed it: Singapore will be Hamilton’s 161st race start…
And finally, the reigning world champion has won seven races so far this season, but he’ll need to win the remaining seven if he wants to surpass Vettel’s single season record of 13, set in 2013.