Twists, turns, and a fitting farewell: Looking back at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel took home the prize after winning the Singapore Grand Prix. Diego Azubel/EPA-EFE

On Sunday, September 22, the lights went up and the stands filled in the Marina Bay circuit, as Singapore prepared for the conclusion of yet another racing season. FORMULA 1™ arrived in Southeast Asia on September 20, with the racing fraternity flying in for the one-stop Asian stage.

The seeds for the grand finish were laid across the two weeks which came before the race. Precinct Parties, premier nightclubs, and other FORMULA 1™-themed attractions provided fans with a taste of what's to come - all part of the opening act leading up to the big event.

The drivers finally descended on to the track on September 22, as an eager audience settled into the stands. Sixty-one laps of high-octane drama followed, with the race coming to an epic conclusion.

Main Event

The race, like the race-track, had many twists and turns. Favourite to win before the racing fellowship even arrived in Singapore, Lewis Hamilton was beaten to the top of the grid by an in-form Charles Leclerc. The 21-year-old driver, in his first season at Ferrari, was himself hoping to complete a remarkable hat-trick of wins, having finished first in both Belgium and Italy.

Leclerc, surprisingly, was overthrown by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, who took advantage of an early pit-stop. The Furious Monegasque let his feelings known post-race, however, his hopes of becoming the first Ferrari driver to win three races back-to-back since Michael Schumacher had long been quashed by then.

Meanwhile, for Hamilton, the race turned out to be even worse, with the Singapore favourite finishing outside the top three in Marina Bay for the first time since 2015. Max Verstappen bested the Englishman, and current season leader, to complete the podium as third place.

Grand Finish

The drivers went through a range of emotions on the track. Off-track, the organizers and the partners tried to replicate that adrenaline surge for fans in yet another impressive iteration of the Grand Prix Season Singapore.

Over two weeks, the Lion City lit up in anticipation of the big race. Four distinct locations across the city - Orchard Road, Jewel Changi Airport, Clarke Quay, and Kampong Glam - hosted 'Precinct Parties' where visitors could indulge in various activities, such as retail showcases, virtual reality experiences, musical festivities, car displays and more.

Furthermore, several of the city's biggest nightclubs, such as MARQUEE, added to the pre-race revels by inviting A-list celebrities and local DJs. McLaren's Shadow Project also came to town, giving enthused gamers a chance to join their official eSports development programme.

While such events built-up excitement before the Grand Prix, musicians from all over the globe ensured that the weekend concluded on a high note. The likes of Swedish House Mafia, Muse, Gwen Stefani, Fatboy Slim, Hans Zimmer, Toots and the Maytals, and Red Hot Chili Peppers performed in front of sixty-five thousand fans at the Padang Stage, waving goodbye to yet another season of racing action.

The race itself turned out to be a record-breaker. Calculations revealed two hundred and sixty-eight thousand fans to be in attendance for the three-day event, the second-highest tally in its twelve-year history. It bested the numbers thrown forward by the Singapore GP of 2018 while falling just short of the debut race in 2008, which saw around three hundred thousand fans flock to the stands.

Taking a cue from the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, the FORMULA 1™ Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2019 flashed past the fans. A two-week-long ride came to an end on a satisfying note, with all the fun and the excitement from the streets carrying over to the racetrack and then through the finish line.

Vettel claimed the crown of the speed king of Singapore this year, besting old rival Hamilton in the process. The Englishman, however, will be looking to reclaim his title when the race returns to the Lion City in 2020, and fans will be eagerly waiting.