Singapore GP: Racing Point hungry for more points at demanding Marina Bay Circuit

Coming away from an incident-packed Italian Grand Prix with valuable points was just reward for the recent progress made by the SportPesa Racing Point team and yet it could easily have been so much better.

Sergio Perez’s stunning drive to seventh from 18th on the grid was arguably the drive of the race weekend and the Acronis partner team should really have been left celebrating a double points finish had Lance Stroll not been punted out of contention by Sebastian Vettel when running seventh early on.

Now, the team heads to the bright lights of Singapore for one of the most physically demanding of races on the calendar as drivers reach the limits of physical exertion for two hours of racing in extreme heat and humidity.

“I always enjoy racing in Singapore,” said Perez in his team’s race preview. “The city has so much energy and the track is a challenge. It’s physically difficult with the heat and humidity and, because it’s a street circuit, there’s little margin for error. When you’re driving, you’re sweating so much. That’s why you need to make sure you’ve done your fitness training in hot conditions too. You need to be ready because it’s hard to breathe sometimes. It’s also the longest race of the year in terms of duration.

“I’ve had some good drives in Singapore over the years. It’s a track layout I like and I have always enjoyed street tracks. You have to be aggressive and accurate and it’s a track where you can make the difference as a driver.”

Echoing Perez’s sentiments on the challenges of driving around the Marina Bay Street Circuit at night, teammate Stroll is determined to bounce back from the misfortunes of Monza.

“Singapore is probably the most demanding race on the calendar – certainly in terms of the physical side of things,” added Stroll. “To prepare for it, I do lots of training in the heat and endurance work. It’s a long race – lasting about two hours – so it’s a mental test of concentration as well. It’s narrow and, with the walls so close, there’s no room for mistakes. It’s a place where you put a wheel wrong and you’re in the wall.  It really tests you as a driver.

“There is a really nice flow to the lap. It’s technical and very long, so hooking up the perfect lap is a challenge. You need confidence in the car and a balance that suits your driving style. To find the last few tenths, you really need the confidence to push. It’s quite a bumpy track and you have to be fully committed over the kerbs, so it’s a race where you’re really beating up the car. I remember having a pretty big headache after the race last year!”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.