Singapore entered the Formula 1 calendar in 2008 and the first race saw massive controversy and Fernando Alonso won with tactical help from teammate Nelson Piquet Jr who intentionally crashed to bring out a safety car. Since then the race, held at night to mitigate the extreme heat, has become one of the biggest spectacles in F1 and the blueprint for a push toward more city races in the future.
Only 4 drivers, Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, & Nico Rosberg, have claimed victory around the Singapore track. It is a winding maze of 23 corners over 5km and a physical test for drivers, as well as a demanding circuit for F1 2018 players. The tight corners require patience and precision, while your setup needs to balance responsiveness with tyre wear, which can be extreme around this circuit. Overtaking chances are few and far between here, while there are many corners where you can easily lose time or a piece of your front wing. Let’s start by looking at the overtaking points.
The best place to make a pass is turn 7. It’s a long flatout blast from the exit of turn 5 to the braking point and there is also a DRS zone here, meaning you have a great chance to pull alongside an opponent and make a pass into the slow left-hander. It is very difficult to make an outside pass stick here, but you should have a good chance of finding the inside line as you pull out of the slipstream.
You come out of the painfully tight and slow turn 11-13 section onto a relatively long straight, giving you a chance to put the engine into rich fuel mix & overtake ERS mode and put yourself in a position to make a move into turn 14. Without DRS it is hard to get a really clean opportunity here, but if you have fresh tyres and get a great exit from 13 then it is possible. The only way to do it is up the inside as the exit forces you to drift out to the barrier and you’ll just run out of space if you try to sweep around the outside.
That is basically it for overtaking points. You get a DRS zone down the pit straight into turn 1 but it isn’t nearly long enough to get into position. The rest of the lap is a deadly minefield of awkward corners and harsh kerbs. Let’s look at the trickiest corners to navigate.
This section is a slalom of turns across a narrow bridge that leads to a tricky braking zone and a tight left hairpin. It is very easy to miss an apex and clip the barrier or lockup and go too deep into the hairpin. If you get too eager on the throttle you’ll clip the wall on exit, and if you get stuck behind a slower car, then this part of the track is torment as all you can do is wait for them. You can lose a ton of time here, but pushing hard and your race can end in a heartbeat.
The final sector is an alley of tight chicanes that are tricky to navigate in a good time, and that starts with turn 18. This tight left takes you under a bridge and is exceptionally slower than it appears. There is also a fairly harsh kerb on the inside that you need to take some of but if you get too greedy, you’ll be bounced into the barrier and end your race there.
The final chicane of the lap is a right-left that can be taken far quicker than you think if you get the line right. If you don’t then you’ll be planted in the wall. You need to take a piece of the inside kerb on each corner, and to maximise speed you have to get very close to the wall on exit. This is the tricky bit, because a touch late to the second apex and you’ll end up clipping the wall, a touch early on either apex and you will ride the large kerb and scrub a lot of speed off, leaving you vulnerable through the fast final corner and into turn 1.
Finding the right setup for Singapore is extremely hard. You can’t just throw on wing angle like it was Monaco or you’ll be far too slow down the straights, but you need the aerodynamic stability to carry speed through the corners. You also need a good suspension setup to help manage your tyres, which is incredibly hard here, and ride the kerbs efficiently. You can see our setup here, but remember that your own driving style, controller type, and level of assists means you may have to make a few tweaks to optimise performance.
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