Sunday, September 28, 2008


At 8 pm Singapore time today, the inaugural Night Race of the Formula One Grand Prix kicked off. More than 100,000 fans were in the Marina Bay race Circuit area. These were paying fans of which more than 40,000 were foreign visitors. Many thousands more had surveyed the surrounding areas of the race and scrambled for their own"pole" positions and vantage points...FOC, of course. Many were also resourceful and had made bookings for the best views in hotels and other commercial buildings.

Can't really blame them as Grand Prix Fever had descended upon Singapore over the last fortnight.
The government had splashed out some $150 million to put Singapore on the world map. The figure is much higher as big corporate sponsors are also involved.
With so much invested and at stake, how can Wise Owl here afford to miss any of the action.
So we, all in the extended family, had our own" paddocks" in front of the TV screen. Drinks, good food and even a Birthday cake was supplied as all eyes focussed on the cars with names like Ferrari, McLaren,BMW, Williams, Toyota,Honda, Renault, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Force India.

The impressive-looking cars lined up according to their qualifying positions yesterday. In pole position was Felipe Massa [Ferrari], then Lewis Hamilton,the current Leader in the F1 circuit[McLaren] and next was Kimi Raikkonen [Ferrari]. Nico Rosberg [Williams] was in 9th place while Fernando Alonso [Renault] was in 15th. There were 20 finalists in all.
The Flag was soon raised and off they zoomed ! The historic 1st Night Race in the world of Formula 1 racing had started.
It was very important to listen to the LIVE commentary and the LIVE update on screen to make out who were actually leading and who disappeared and why. There was big drama a-plenty throughout the 61 lap race. A couple of crashes that led to the safety cars being introduced and that altered the course of events happily for some, disappointing for others. Some drama were self-inflicted.

F Massa was leading all the way until he made a pit stop in Lap 17 that went so awry it was incredible to believe. But we saw it all with our own eyes.... LIVE !
He drove of with the refuelling pipe still attached to his car! The pipe broke and hit one of the Ferrari mechanic spewing petrol all over. Massa realised after a few seconds and stopped. It was comical to see the Ferrari crew running up to his car and struggling to free the trailing fuel pipe that was still attached to it.
But that caused him the race. I discovered later that Massa was not at fault as he had been given the green light to go.

The 3.2 mile circuit has 23 turns which is about 8 more than the average F1 circuit making this one of the most challenging of all race tracks.
In the end, Fernando Alonso [ Renault] crossed the Finish Line in 1st place followed by Nick Rosberg[ Williams] and 3rd was Lewis Hamilton [Mclaren].
It was truly an unforgetable spectacle for Singapore and for those who caught it LIVE...such as simple folks like us.

ps: All race photos taken direct from my TV screen. Pic of me taken by my 7 year old grandson J.

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