FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, 15 - 17 September 2017

Driver biography: Jolyon Palmer

Born in Horsham in 1991, Jolyon started out in karts, but was already racing cars at the age of 14 in the T Car championship - a saloon car series for drivers aged 14 to 17. In his first full year of competition in 2006, he scored 4 podiums and dominated the T Car Autumn Trophy with 4 wins in 6 races.

Singapore kicks off the Asian stint of the calendar with points the only thing on Jolyon Palmer’s mind.

What do you like about Singapore?

I love Singapore as it’s a highly unique event under the lights. I’ve won there in the GP2 Series and it was one of my best wins. In fact, I raced there two years running and both years were very good. Hopefully I can create more good memories there. It’s a cool feeling driving at night as you can see the circuit very clearly from the lights but your vision is channelled as the background is in darkness.

What are the challenges of the circuit?

The final sector is a real challenge with the section under the grandstand. It’s tight over the bridge too so you need your wits about you. Stringing a perfect lap together is very testing. Over the bridge and the middle of the lap are pretty tough to get right as you’re braking as you turn so it’s easy to lock a wheel, and the last sector is very tight and twisty.

How does it differ to other Grands Prix?

We see the circuit change a lot over the weekend as the surface rubbers in then the climatic conditions are reasonably different between FP1 and FP2, then FP3 and qualifying. Getting a good handle on the balance of the car gives us plenty of work as generally it’s cooler later in the night. It’s not your usual race weekend!

Do you find the time to see the city?

It’s a strange weekend as we wake up later than usual with a lot of the work completed in the evening, meaning we don’t get too much time to explore. But the great thing about the race is that it’s right in the centre of the city so you’re surrounded by everything you could want. You don’t have to go far for a good restaurant. It’s always great to sample the local culture.

How do you reflect on Italy?

It was a tough weekend but we knew it was going to be quite difficult as Monza doesn’t really play to the car’s strengths. We didn’t make the most of qualifying and I didn’t make the best start and fell to the back. I felt good in the car, made a few passes, we were in a good place on the reverse strategy but then we had a problem and retired. We get the retirement out of the way now and get ready for Singapore!

Driver biography: Nico Hülkenberg

With an impressive racing career, Nico made his debut as a Renault Sport Formula One Team driver in the 2017 Australian Grand Prix. Born in Emmerich am Rhein, Germany in 1987, he has secured championship titles in Formula BMW, A1GP and the GP2 Series, and made his Formula1 debut in 2010. He also achieved a pole position in his rookie F1 season and won at Le Mans on his debut.

After missing out on the points in Italy, Nico Hülkenberg is set for a showdown under the Singapore night sky.

Is it a strange feeling to race under the lights?

It takes a little getting used to, but it’s not so bad. It’s been on the calendar so long that it feels like a normal race. It’s a very special Grand Prix and the only real night race we have. We don’t really see the day there! We sleep until lunchtime, and then it’s off to work, so there isn’t much of a social life for us drivers. The venue is amazing, how they’ve built it all is fantastic, especially as it’s right in the middle of the city.

And how is the circuit to drive?

As a track, it’s really tough and physically demanding – arguably one of the hardest of the season. The lap is long with lots of corners and some tight and sharp bits. The high temperature and humidity, combined with the fact that it’s a street circuit, makes it quite hard. It’s important to be in top physical shape due to the harsh requirements. Safety cars usually come out which makes strategy hard to call.

What are your feelings after Monza?

We’re finished with Europe, but ultimately Italy was a difficult weekend for us as a team. It’s disappointing not to come away with points. I got stuck in traffic in the race and couldn’t do too much. I’m going to get it off the mind as soon as possible and gear up for Singapore. I’m looking forward to it as we should be more competitive; onwards and upwards!