F1 Race Review: Singapore GP 2008

My disdain for street races is reaffirmed by yet another minimal overtaking weekend. Adding to an already boring Monza was Valencia, this year. Singapore under lights with a bumpy track, high kerbs and the usual close barriers made the race more a safety car poker following Nelson Piquet’s crash. While Felipe Massa lost the most, Fernando Alonso came out with a surprise win followed by Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton.

The Friday and Saturday Practice live on TV gave audience a glimpse of a floodlit track. All credit to Italian Engineer Valerio Maioli whose 1500 light projectors wired with 110km of cable powered by three projectors generating more than a billion watts turning night into day. While the 22 cornered track boasts of a quick 290km at Turn 6, it is also hard on the carbon disc brakes that take heat up to 800 degrees nearly 16 times during a lap.

At the close of the qualifier, Massa beat his Championship Rival by six tenths to P1 and was posed to finish 1 point more than Lewis in the table. For race winner Fernando, a fuel pump issue led to Fernando not setting a time in Q2 forcing him to start at P15. Kimi whose championship chances have practically slipped out of his hands started P3 but who knew that his bad luck would dog him to a nil point finish for the fourth time in a row.

Felipe Massa had led the race from start and built a lead over Lewis, till his compatriot and Renault driver Piquet crashed into the barriers calling for a safety car period that continued into the first pit-stop window. Felipe, Lewis & Kimi entered the pits and as the lights on turned green, Massa took off but with the fuel nozzle attached till the end of the pit lane. Ferrari engineers sprinted and pulled it nozzle out, but is his race was finished.

Fernando was the happiest registering what could possibly be the only win of the year, obviously because he luckily pitted before the safety car came out. Things couldn’t get any better for Renault registering a win after nearly two years and the first at night! All said and done, I hope F1 limits itself to traditional tracks with adequate run-off areas. It is really not funny to see cars crashing into them, inviting safety cars, and lucky finishes!

A season that has seen 7 different race winners from 5 teams ends in another three races. In the two horse race, Lewis just extended his lead has now has 84 points to Felipe’s 77 after the latter’s zero Singapore sojourn. For the Team table, after months of arduous effort McLaren with 135 lead by 1 point from double DNF Ferrari; BMW at 120 have sealed their third. Watch out for more action at Shanghai, Fuji and Interlagos!