I'd say Singapore is probably the toughest race on the calendar, not only because of the demands of the circuit itself, but also because of the physical stresses regarding the driver. The physical stress of driving at more than 50 or 60 DEGREES inside the cockpit due to the heat and humidity is enormous. The air doesn't flow, as the city skyscrapers don't allow it and you really feel the hot air inside the car!
The track itself is really long, very tight and extremely DEMANDING. There's no time to rest during the lap and you have to be 100% focussed at all times, as the walls are all very close.
We stay on European time while in Singapore, which can sometimes be a bit WEIRD: We wake up at around 2pm every day and leave the track at 3am, which is strange but also makes it more special. As we come from Europe I don't usually struggle with this unusual timetable. I sometimes find it more difficult to adapt to the Malaysian or Japanese time zones for example.
Last year I performed one of my best qualifying sessions of the season, something which is very important to do in Singapore as it's difficult to overtake during the race. Unfortunately, the good qualifying didn't count for much in the end, as I had a frustrating start when I got hit as the lights went out... It was a very TOUGH moment, as I was expecting to fight for points. We probably lost a chance of scoring a strong result! Let's see if we can do it this year...
There are many shopping centres in Singapore, but I have to admit that I don't like to go shopping, I'm an 'ANTI-SHOPPER'!! If I have some free time I prefer to use it in many other ways: doing some sport or going for a good meal!
The Singapore Grand Prix is a very enjoyable event because it takes place in the city centre of a very cool city and there's a MEGA-ATHMOSPHERE! Racing at night makes it all even more special and I'd say it's one of the most unique weekends of the year.
It's quite hot and humid there, which means it's a challenging race from a physical point of view. The good news is that I always arrive there very WELL-PREPARED thanks to all the work my physio and I put in throughout the whole year.
Even if it's difficult, I sometimes try and do some shopping as there are many shopping centres in the city. It's not easy as we stay on European time in Singapore, so when we finish at the track it's early MORNING all the shops are already closed! An option is to wake up earlier and do it before going to the circuit, but I like sleeping and that's actually what I should do until "lunch time"
Last year I finished in the points (P9) after a very good qualifying session on Saturday (P7) so I hope we can be competitive also this year. In addition, everything can happen in Singapore, the walls are very close and the physical preparation can make a big difference. I've trained very hard to be able to stay FOCUSSED on the driving without worrying about anything else... we need to take any chance that comes our way and bring home points.
Even if you SLEEP the usual amount of hours, having to wake up at lunch time gives me the feeling I'm allowed to SLEEP much more than during any other race weekend but still fit many things in during the day... Maybe also the fact of going to bed very late makes me feel in a way on holiday but, believe me, we are not!