After experiencing Chinese culture in Chinatown and revisiting the iconic Marina Bay Sands, I geared up for the most anticipated day in the Marina Bay Street Circuit. September 25 was the race day of the 2011 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. Read more…
I decided to meet with Ron Cruz of Flip’n Travels right before the race. He was coming from Woodlands, and I was just coming from the Grand Mercure Roxy in Katong. I decided to come earlier than him and perhaps check out the entertainment for the last time. Luckily, I was able to watch part of 80’s icon Rick Astley’s performance at the Village Stage of Zone 1! If you’re too young to know him, he sang Never Gonna Give You Up, the “rickrolling” song.
It was 8PM, and everyone took their seats at the Turn 1 Grandstand. The preceding night on the qualifying session, Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing received pole position, followed by Mark Weber of Red Bull Racing, Jenson Button of McLaren, Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, Felipe Massa of Ferrari, and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes receiving grids two through seven.
Here are some race photos from Singapore GP Pte Ltd.:
It was an exhilarating two hours, much to the delight of race fans. Some sports commentators were already expecting a Vettel win, but the competition was close and intense that it was hard to tell which of the top contenders would scoop podium positions!
Lap 12 was controversial. Both coming out from the pit after Lap 11, Hamilton and Massa collided, causing the the partial loss of the former’s front wing and the latter’s right rear to be punctured. The incident resulted to a drive-through penalty for Hamilton at Lap 16. (After the race, Massa would disrupt Hamilton’s media interview by giving a sarcastic remark. He also slammed Hamilton for his recklessness.) Below is a video I found from YouTube:
On Lap 30, Michael Schumacher of Mercedes chased Sergio Perez of Sauber for the eighth spot. However, as he touched Perez’ back between turns 7/8, Schumacher skids nose first into the barriers thus ending his grand prix bid prematurely. Here is a video from YouTube:
By the last laps, Button was closing in behind Vettel that he was merely seconds behind at one point in Lap 59. However, by the last lap, the 61st, we already stood up from our seats and cheered midway through as Button gives up the fight and the young Vettel speeds his way to the finish line unchallenged. Vettel wins the fourth SingTel Singapore Grand Prix!
Fireworks were in the sky as the youngest champ in the young history of the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix celebrates his victory. His tenth win this 2011 season corresponded to 25 points, meaning he was 1 point away from the championship. (He successfully scooped the World Championship with his recent third place finish at the Japanese Grand Prix.)
Vettel (center) clocked in 1:59:06.757, while Button (left) narrowly came in second with 1.7 seconds more at 1:59:08.494. Webber (right) was third at 1:59:36.036, and unfortunately for two-time Singapore champ Alonso, he could only manage to race his way at far fourth with 2:00:02.206.
After the race, the track was opened for spectators! It really, really made me so happy and fulfilled that I thought it was one of the highlights of actually experiencing the grand prix. In an ocean of race fans, we walked near the pit building where the driver garages were. And like a true fanboy, I waited outside Vettel’s garage in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him. I did see him pass by swiftly, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to record it with my iPhone. Anyway, I took this video of what his garage looks like:
Ron and I were extremely famished boys, so we decided to get a quick Singaporean meal near the Padang. The satay and char kway teow were so tasty with the hunger we felt. We didn’t take long savoring our meal though, as we had to hurry to the Padang Stage!
That night’s entertainment highlight was the one I really wanted to see: Linkin Park! We tried to squeeze ourselves into the crowd as much as we could until eventually we found our happy place. We didn’t mind the humidity and the sheer number of people that night!
After years of listening to their music since grade school, I finally heard my favorite singles live—In the End, Numb, Bleed It Out, and What I’ve Done being some of them. But of course, the most memorable of their performances to me would be Shadow of the Day, my most favorite of all their songs. I was speechless when I was watching them perform it.
My night didn’t end with the Linkin Park concert, however. Celebrating Vettel’s victory is not complete without an after party. I proceeded to The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore for the Podium Lounge after changing clothes and freshening up. The said party was clearly for the most elegant and chic, and it featured a fashion show and silent auctions for charity.
If you are curious what I wore that night, I was in a Calvin Klein v-neck tee, a navy Arrow cardigan, brown Levi’s skinny jeans, Ben Sherman boat shoes, and a scarf from Abercrombie & Fitch. The look was styled by my friend Stefan Punongbayan. Unfortunately, no one was there to take my pictures, so I’ll just try to recreate the look one of these days and post it.
That was a long, long final day covering the grand prix, but I had heaps of fun. I’ll post more pictures from my camera and Ron’s on my wrap up. To be continued…