Force India drivers feel Singapore GP toughest race

Singapore, Sep 14 (IANS) Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez feel that the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix this weekend in the toughest race of the Formula 1 calendar because of the heat, despite being held at night.

“The Singapore Grand Prix ranks as the toughest race of the year because of the heat. It’s physically draining and you’ve also got the mental challenge of racing so close to the walls with a small margin of error. We go there knowing we’ve made some good steps with the car over the last few races and aiming for more good points,” Hulkenberg said on Monday.

His Mexican teammate Perez echoed the sentiments.

“The Marina Bay track is one of my favourites and I’ve scored points every time I’ve raced there. I always enjoy driving on street circuits because you have to be aggressive and precise, and that suits my driving style,” said Perez.

“It’s quite bumpy, too, so you need a car with good stability to ride the bumps. It’s also one of the most demanding races of the year because of the heat and humidity.”

The weekend will see Formula 1 cars take to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the 13th round of the season. The Singapore GP was the first and still one of the few night races of the calendar.

“I’ve always enjoyed racing in Singapore and it’s one of the best events of the year. The city is buzzing and there’s a great atmosphere wherever you go,” said Hulkenberg.

“When it’s all lit up at night it looks stunning. I often wonder how much work is required to transform such a busy city into a racetrack. It’s clearly a huge logistical operation, but it’s definitely worth all the effort.”

Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel is the most successful driver on the 5 km circuit, winning the 61-lap floodlit race thrice, one more than both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

“The track layout has some nice features, but the first sector stands out for me – especially the fast right-hand kink of turn six and the braking zone of turn seven. You need a car that’s able to ride the bumps, can use the kerbs and gives you confidence through the low and medium-speed corners,” added the German.

Perez is in good form, finishing fifth and sixth in the last two races at Belgium and Italy which helped him overtake his teammate in the drivers’ standings.

“I’m heading to Singapore feeling very positive. We’ve shown in the last two races just how competitive we can be and I’m confident we can have a similar level of performance in Singapore. The team is pushing hard to bring performance to the car and we’ve still got developments coming through which will help us a bit more this weekend,” said the Mexican driver.

“I’m now feeling more comfortable with the updated car. I made a big breakthrough in Spa and since then I’ve had the confidence to push and get the most from our package. It’s a good sign for the rest of the year.”

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