We’ve had our first session here in Singapore and there was plenty of spectacular action and a few near misses out on the track as the drivers get used to it. At the end, Hamilton very nearly hit Fisichella who had spun in one of the blind corners and was across the track. Lewis was fastest, by a few hundredths from Massa and Raikkonen. Kovalainen had a huge moment at the final corner, as did Vettel. Luckily for bthe there is plenty of run off area there.
Mark Webber hit the wall on the outside of the corner which passes under the grandstands early on, so Red Bull lost a lot of set up time, which is not ideal on a new track.
It’s very dusty out there, as you’d expect, but also very bumpy and the cars look very lively out there. They move around a lot, buck and jump over the bumps and generally look as though they are on the edge. Perhaps the artificial lights exacerbate that too. Lewis describes it as a ‘very busy lap’ and there are plenty of traps lying in wait for drivers if they lose concentration for a split second. Even if we don’t get much overtaking I think we will have an eventful race on Sunday with a high chance of a safety car because someone will go into the wall at some point.
The controversial chicane where the oversized Tic Tacs had to be removed, is not in fact a chicane, the cars go straight through it and then turn left. It’s a road narrowing device to ensure that the cars will be in single file for the Anderson bridge. The problem with this is that in the race it will spread the field out massively, so overtaking will be made more difficult and it will mean that qualifying at the front is absolutely critical, because if you are running around in fifth place in the opening laps, as Raikkonen has s few times lately, you will be 20 seconds behind the leader by the time of the first pit stops and totally out of it.
Last night we were all woken up by what sounded like a giant bomb going off. It was a thunderstorm, which lasted a few hours, with torrential rain. If that happened on Sunday there is no way they could start the race.
The track is not as bright as I’d expected it to be and the cars are not as illuminated as you’ll be expecting when you see them on TV. It’s 8-45pm here now and I’m off for lunch…weird.