How to nail a red-hot lap of scorching Singapore with the Red Bull Racing star.
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU
We know how tough the Singapore Grand Prix is physically – Daniel Ricciardo told us just last week – but how do you put all of that aside to extract the optimum lap around one of the most difficult circuits on the Formula One calendar? Fortunately, we’re asking the right man.
Ricciardo has thrived in Singapore ever since he graduated from Scuderia Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing, coming third on his first visit to the island city-state with the senior Bull squad in 2014, and going one better last year, finishing second to old teammate Sebastian Vettel on a weekend where the usual front-running Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were nowhere. What’s more, Ricciardo set the fastest-ever race lap of the 5.065-kilometre Marina Bay Circuit on lap 52 of 61 last year, a 1min 50.041secs scorcher that was one of the reasons he was just 1.4 seconds off a race win this time 12 months ago.
“It’s a busy lap there, there’s not many straights, so it’s tough on the neck and tough on your left leg because you’re always braking,” Ricciardo says of the sinuous 23-turn layout, which runs past many of Singapore’s most famous buildings, traverses the century-old Anderson Bridge, and uniquely runs beneath one of the grandstands towards the end of the lap.
Third two years ago, second last year … it’s a promising trend for Ricciardo ahead of this weekend’s race in Singapore, round 15 of the marathon 21-race Formula One season. Before number 3 gets set to tackle the city streets, here’s his three Singapore sections to keep an eye on.
Bridging the gap
“Getting onto the Anderson Bridge and the tight left afterwards, Turns 12 to 13, is tricky,” Ricciardo says.
“Braking at that hairpin left before the back straight is a place where you can definitely lose a lot of time, and you can ruin your whole qualifying lap if you get it wrong there.”
Get it stopped, keep it straight
“The other section that’s hard is after the right-hander at the end of the back straight at Turn 14,” he says.
“The circuit flows on through 15 and then Turn 16 – you’re braking and turning left through 15 and then dipping right into 16, so you can’t afford to lock up there.”
Watch the wall
“The other corner that’s a bit frustrating in a way is when you go under the grandstand at Turn 18 – and that’s not just because I crashed in the race there in 2013,” Ricciardo laughs.
“Technically, that section – Turns 18 through to 21 – is tricky, but it’s also a point of the lap in qualifying where the tyres are starting to overheat, so they’re giving you a hard time.
“Under the grandstand between 18 and 19, you always think you could have gone quicker, and you never feel like you’ve gone quick enough there the whole weekend. But it’s one of those corners that you’re better off surviving than trying to gain too much in.”