From The Straits Times    |
 2019 Singapore F1 highlights

 2019 Singapore F1 highlights

Photo: SGP

Undeterred by the haze, a three-day total of 268,000 attended the Singapore Grand Prix to witness the races and revel in the atmosphere. From the actual races to sensational concerts, there was something for everyone. In fact, the weekend was so packed with activities and unexpected twists that we’re not surprised if you lost track of what happened, so here is a rundown of one of Singapore’s most highly-anticipated event of the year.


1. A first in Singapore – Ferrari’s Vettel and Leclerc clinched top two

Photo: Straits Times

Both Ferrari drivers occupied the top two positions in the first ever 1-2 in Singapore (for the unfamiliar, it means that the first two winners are from the same team), but it was Sebastian Vettel who clinched the first place in an unexpected turn of events.


Leclerc started on pole position during the finals, gunning for the first place which would have completed a hat-trick of victories following his Italy and Belgium wins – a record only two other drivers hold so far. The Monégasque driver had been blindsided by Ferrari’s controversial strategy to pit Vettel earlier into the race; Vettel’s fresh tyres boosted his speed so much that he overtook his team mate, much to Leclerc’s dismay, which he voiced out over radio.



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The delighted Vettel thanked his fans for their continuous support as he drew energy and motivation from them. The opportunistic German took full advantage of his fresh tyres to cruise ahead of his competitors, ending his 392-day win drought since his Belgium victory in 2018.


2. Hamilton’s fall from podium-grace

Photo: Straits Time

The winner of the last Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton cuts a disappointed figure as he places fourth this round. 

The high-flyer suggested taking a gamble with an undercut strategy, but his advice went unheeded as he was instructed to remain on the tracks while his opponents swapped out their tyres for newer ones. Six laps after Leclerc pitted, Hamilton traded his old tyres in for the final stretch but the damage was done – he had lost a significant amount of time on his worn tyres, a gamble that had cost him his spot on the podium. Better luck next time!



3. Concerts took the limelight on Zone 4’s Padang stage

Photo: Strait Time

Other than the races, the concerts were indisputably the biggest events of the Grand Prix. On Friday night, house music superstars Swedish House Mafia lit up their first show in Asia with smash hits like Don’t You Worry Child and Dream Bigger. Singapore Grand Prix was also the last stop for their Save The World Reunion Tour.



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Saturday saw three-time Grammy award winner Gwen Stefani taking us back in time with opening song Sweet Escape, released in 2006. Stefani performed the romantic Make Me Like You, written about beau Blake Shelton, before closing with the iconic Hollaback Girl. The star interacted with fans throughout her set, even obligingly signing a fan’s arm for a tattoo.



Thank you Singapore You guys rocked! #f1 #singaporegp

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After Stefani’s spectacular set, Muse fanned the atmosphere at Padang to a fever pitch, delighting rock fans with classics like Uprising and Supermassive Blackhole. The stage was brightly lit with lead singer Matt Bellamy’s LED glasses and glowing costumes, casting a space-dystopia vibe over the open-air concert venue. 

Fans welcomed Fatboy Slim, English DJ and pioneer of the big beat genre as he took them on a ride through an exhilarating mix of dance songs, alongside signature track The Rockafeller Skank.

The other headlining act, Red Hot Chili Peppers, finally returned to Singapore after 17 years. They took the stage soon after Vettel sped across the finish line to victory, and reflected the charged atmosphere with a dynamic set. Fans were treated to Grammy-winning songs from Californication, an album released in 1999, and bounced to high-energy songs like Give It Away.


4. After-parties kept the celebratory high going

No F1 celebration is complete without an after-party to ride out the thrill of the races; in fact, one might say the celebrations truly started in the after-parties.



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Last year, the Podium Lounge hosted Lewis Hamilton, the previous Singapore Grand Prix champion. Once again, the establishment boasted an enticing star-studded lineup of entertainment including Melanie C aka Sporty Spice, The Cuban Brothers and Raleigh Ritchie. Party-goers enjoyed performances by musician Daniel Jones from Savage Garden, singer Kathleen De Leon (Hi-5) and rising Singaporean star Maya Davidov. Hanli Hoeffer, our September cover star was spotted at Podium Lounge with Yvette King from E! News Asia.

CÉ LA VI’s Club Lounge hosted yet another happening afterparty. Atlanta-based DJ Babey Drew, who regularly DJs for the Kardashians and has opened for big wigs like Steve Aoki and Beyoncé, helmed the deck on Friday.

At Amber Lounge, Ella Eyre and DJ Sigala raised the roof with their performances, treating the guests to an unforgettable show.



5. Verstappen and Albon tried to decipher Singapore’s street signs

Photo: Aston Martin Red Bull Racing | Youtube

In a light-hearted Youtube video posted on their team’s channel, Verstappen and Albon sat down to try their hands at decoding Singapore’s street signs.

Red Bull drivers have starred in a series of videos capturing their introductions to symbols of Singapore; one video entailed cracking open and tasting the notorious durian, and another video saw the drivers tackling our famous chili crab. The latest installment in this series involved Verstappen and Albon guessing what do various Singaporean street sign mean.

The average Singaporean driver might remember seeing some of these signs in the basic theory book, but for the most part, Verstappen and Albon were out of their depth, making smart guesses that landed surprisingly near correct meaning for some symbols.

The chummy duo were all laughs and banters as they cheerfully speculated, winning the hearts of F1 fans.