The action-filled first day at the 2017 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix was clearly a prelude of what was to come. The second day saw not only exhilarating on-track action but well-anticipated performances from two of the hottest global acts—Ariana Grande and The Chainsmokers.
We were staying in Balestier Road, so it was quite a distance from the Marina Bay Circuit. Good thing, there was a bus running that stopped in front of our hotel and dropped us off in Bugis, where our designated gate to the circuit was. This made us love Singapore’s transportation system even more.
Anyway, we once again entered through Gate 4 and headed towards the Padang Grandstand. As we made our way, we were surprised to see a mass of people gathering on the Padang, an open field behind the grandstand, and apparently, they were already waiting for Ariana Grande’s show—to think it was two hours before! We panicked a little and finally decided to take a spot on the Padang’s Fan Zone, a separate section in front of the stage opened hours before a concert until full. It was free for any ticketholder to enter the Fan Zone, but fans had to come early to secure good spots.
We knew we were missing out on the practice session, but there were huge screens beside the stage, so it was all good. Besides, we expected Arianators would come in droves that we wouldn’t get a good spot after the practice.
And it turned out to be a great decision. Fans packed the Padang to the rafters, many wearing their Ariana Grande cat ears. Luckily, we were quite close to the stage that the area we were standing on was probably the equivalent of the VIP section of a concert elsewhere.
Ariana Grande was a top-class act. For an hour, she wowed us with her repertoire, especially with her hits like Break Free, Into You, Side to Side, Bang Bang, Problem, Dangerous Woman, and Love Me Harder. I know people have doubted her talent, but watching her live made me conclude that she’s a well-rounded performer.
We knew we had to witness the qualifying, one of the most important and most exciting track events, so after the Ariana Grande concert, we made a beeline for the grandstand just behind the Padang stage.
The qualifying couldn’t have been more exciting. Our favorite Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claimed the pole position for the subsequent race, clocking a winning lap of 1:39.491—the fastest ever recorded on the Marina Bay track.
But this victory didn’t come easy. They struggled with their pace, and it wasn’t until Q3 that he and teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a breakthrough in their performance. In the earlier parts of the qualifying, specifically during Q1 and Q2, Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing was threatening to claim the pole position, making him the first teenager at 19 to do so, but again, the tides had turned by Q3.
So it was Vettel and Verstappen who took pole and second position for the following night’s race, respectively, while taking the consequent positions were Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing at third, Raikkonnen at fourth, and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes at fifth.
Although predictions said it could be anyone’s race, we were rooting for Vettel, and we were so eager to see him race and claim the Singapore title the night after—like he did in 2011, the last time I was there.
Anyway, we hurried after the qualifying back to the Padang, and thankfully, the Fan Zone was still open—though our spot wasn’t as near as earlier. Mere minutes later, The Chainsmokers were already revving up the stage.
The Chainsmokers, who we’d seen spin in Cebu a few years back, electrified the crowd and had us sing along to their hits like Closer, Something Like This, Roses, and Don’t Let Me Down.
An exhilarating qualifying plus awesome performances from Ariana Grande and The Chainsmokers—the second day of the 2017 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix was one for the books!