The Formula 1 circus returns to the streets of Singapore for the first time since 2019 with Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing at the top of the drivers table and taking measurements on his next F1 crown. Verstappen enters the weekend with a 116-point lead on the next driver in the standings, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. Strictly from doing the math, Verstappen needs to outscore Leclerc by 22 points, his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez by 13 and George Russell of Mercedes by six to claim his second drivers' championship title.
The reality is obviously much more difficult because a lot can happen over 61 laps at Singapore.
"I don't really think about it," Verstappen told formula1.com. "It's quite a long shot. I just want to enjoy the weekend and, of course, try to win it. …
"I need a lot of luck for it to happen here, so I don't really count on it. I think [the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka will be] my first proper opportunity to win the title."
If Leclerc is thinking about it, he isn't showing his cards, either.
"Just extract the maximum out of the car and show that we have grown from the mistakes we've done this year," Leclerc responded when asked about what Ferrari were thinking about with Red Bull Racing close to clinching the title. "Just try to execute the weekend perfectly, and hopefully having a win on Sunday."
Perhaps the reason Verstappen is downplaying things and Leclerc is a bit cautiously optimistic is the fact that tight, narrow Singapore plays well to Ferrari's strengths. In fact, the Marina Bay Circuit was the site of Ferrari's last 1-2 finish before they accomplished the feat again at the Bahrain Grand Prix at the beginning of this season.
Then there is the fact that Singapore is bound to have not only several caution periods but at least one safety car period. Since the event came back on the calendar in 2008, there has never been a Singapore Grand Prix that didn't feature at least one safety car period. The race in 2019 featured three.
How to watch the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix
- Date: Sunday, Oct. 2
- Location: 3.146-mile (5.063 kilometer) Marina Bay Street Circuit, downtown Singapore
- Time: 7 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
What to expect
The twisty, narrow Singapore street circuit, with its 23 turns, is the slowest track on the F1 calendar. It is also one of the most physically difficult because of the temperatures and humidity, even at night. Those conditions take their toll on the drivers mentally as well as physically, resulting in more driver mistakes occurring than at any other circuit on the year.
Overtakes are generally accomplished at the end of the front straight, where the trailing car will attempt to be close enough to enact DRS, get a tow off the leading car, then out run them to the entrance of Turn 1. Everywhere else the walls and the cars can be quite close, and while passing attempts happen this is a case where discretion is the better part of valor, as those attempts usually end up in one or both cars — if not more — going into the wall.
There will once again be three DRS zones. The first detection zone starts at Turn 4, the second just after Turn 12 and the final one at just past Turn 21, which has a pair of wrist-flicking quick left-handers (Turns 22 and 23) before the cars enter the front straight again.