Formula 1 Racing

Why the Singapore Grand Prix is F1’s toughest race

Iconic moments in the 14 years of F1’s Singapore Grand Prix

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Former world champion Nico Rosberg once described it as like being “in a sauna on a spinning bike for two hours” and the unpredictability the unique conditions create gives fans their fair share of action and drama.

Last year, more than 260,000 people flocked to the Marina Bay Street Circuit, which delivered plenty of on-track excitement – but just what are the key things that make it such a challenging track for the drivers to race on?

Relentless corners

First of all, Marina Bay is a street circuit like no other. It has 19 corners over 4.94km – an average of one every 260m – and although this is now four shorter than its original layout, it still makes it one of the most intense laps of all the F1 venues.

Only Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Baku have more turns, but all have longer laps. The intensity for a driver is indicated by the average race lap times, which are second only to Monaco on the slowest list, but it is the drivers’ comments that make it clear just how tough it is.

The never-ending, corner-after-corner layout means that they literally have no time to breathe and last year Nico Rosberg explained: “You have the seatbelts really tight, so you can hardly breathe properly. You have to hold your breath in the corners.”

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Photo by: Alpine

Between the barriers

The track is lined with barriers and drivers get very close in certain places. Max Verstappen has admitted to consciously leaving “a bit more margin” in his driving and it is easy to end up in the wall, either pushing too hard in qualifying or losing concentration in the race.

Two examples from last year are Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, who walked away from a big crash in qualifying, and Mercedes’ George Russell, who made a mistake chasing down McLaren’s Lando Norris and ended up in the barriers on the final lap of the race.

Even seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton has had the occasional off in Singapore, notably going straight on at Turn 7 in 2022. Incredibly, though, he escaped damage and recovered to return to the race and battle on.


Not only is the track one of the most intense in F1, the race is also the longest. Last year, the slightly shortened track saw the fastest race here yet – although that still clocked in at one hour 43 minutes – and the two-hour maximum time limit has been reached five times.

Maintaining full concentration at that level of intensity for that length of time, with few…

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