This year I lucked out in my company’s lucky draw and scored two tickets to the Singapore Grand Prix! It’s been around since 2008, but I have never been to one – the closest was spending a Sunday night at Marina Bay Sands back in 2011 with a bunch of friends, and watching the race from the comforts of the SkyPool! There was no TV/commentary so I had no idea who was in the lead or losing, and the best part was probably the fireworks at the end.
Honestly for most Singaporeans who aren’t racing fans, F1 season these past few years usually means roadblocks and inconvenience – not being able to drive to the central parts of downtown Singapore, resulting traffic jams from the rerouting, and for a lot of shop owners, sometimes majorly affecting their business. I’ve personally never found F1 to be particularly enticing to watch on TV, but friends tell me that being on site around the cars makes for a very different experience.
So I was all psyched up on Sunday to go catch my first Formula One race ever! Most of the photos are from my Instagram, which is where you’ll usually get the latest photos of where I am at any point in time:
Thanks to P for taking time out to come down to the tracks with me – it was also her first F1! Here are our tix – lots of people were wearing their tickets proudly around their necks from the afternoon outside of the gates like a badge of honour.
The tickets I had won were Bay Grandstand tickets, that usually cost S$298, and we were seated at the Marina Bay Floating Platforms – our seats were Light Blue Row 34 Seat 22/23. While our view was quite awesome, we were right at the level of the floodlights, which obscured the large screens partially. Observe:
The one thing about these seats is that you have a pretty awesome view of Marina Bay Skyline in addition to the race track – here’s an awesome panorama pic by P from our seats:
You have to have earplugs – the sound of the speeding cars is really intense, and while it’s bearable when it’s just one car at a time, quite often you’ll encounter a whole group of cars zipping by at one time, which is quite deafening, as you can hear in this video:
The earplugs make enjoying GP a rather surreal experience – for one, you can’t hear the commentary from the large screens (unless you or spring for the live commentary earphones), and it’s hard to chat with friends because the sounds drown you out, and the earplugs are always in the way. Also, these earplugs aren’t the most intuitive to put on – those instructions are the epitome of vague.
After about 20 laps of blurred cars and loud noises, we get a bit bored of the same view and decide to walk around a bit. Our tickets entitled us to Zones 3 and 4, the latter being the entertainment zone and site of where the Rihanna concert would take place after the race. Being Kiasu Singaporeans, we decided to head there first – it was our first major concert!
This was the view from where we were seated and where we finished watching the race on big screens but with the live sounds of the cars zooming by all around us. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel of Infiniti Red Bull who had the lead all the way from the start! Fireworks marked the end of the race:
The crowds around us grew and grew, and soon we were forced to stand, shoulder to shoulder – thank goodness I had a small fan with me. Check it out:
I think neither P nor I are cut out for big sweaty crowds – Rihanna started fairly promptly at around 1045pm, and while we caught glimpses of her from the side screens, it was pretty hard to see her on stage at all, even though we were fairly near the front (that’s because we’re both not very tall as well…). I don’t know if it was choice of songs or the energy level, but I was a little bored by Rihanna’s concert – I recognized only 2 of her first 6-7 songs, and those weren’t her greatest hits. I would have started with a little more of a bang!
P and I gave up soon and after squeezing our way out, headed out of the F1 zone and grabbed a beer from Marche @ Raffles City Shopping Centre. We’ve decided that unless we score some free super VVVIP tickets in future which would allow us to skip the crowds, it would be hard to lure either of us back to watching F1 live – we’re just not big enough racing fans to appreciate it! Still, a very interesting experience nonetheless…
Have you been to Singapore GP? What was your experience like?