CROWDS at the Singapore Grand Prix rose 19 percent in 2017, underlining the race’s popularity days after its contract was extended for four more years.
Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the drivers’ championship, while his closest pursuer Sebastian Vettel crashed out, as the rain lashed down at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Overall attendance for the race weekend hit 260,400 – higher than the event’s 10-year average, according to event organiser Singapore GP.
The 2016 edition attracted 219,000 spectators.
Formula One’s first night race, the Singapore Grand Prix marked its 10th anniversary, shortly after it was confirmed the race would stay on the calendar until at least 2021.
Had a new deal not been agreed, Sunday’s race would have been the last in the city-state.
Instead, the future of the Singapore race looks bright, despite a rain-lashed event in which Vettel and fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen crashed at the start.
Hamilton, who started fifth on the grid after struggling in qualifying, grabbed the lead within four corners following Vettel’s collision with Raikkonen and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.
The race was also notable for Red Bull – for whom Daniel Ricciardo finished second for the third year in a row – rekindling memories of their pomp.
However, Ricciardo does not envisage a three-way battle at the top of Formula One just yet.
They had their sights set firmly on victory in Singapore, with the tight twists of the 23-turn street circuit suiting their strengths.
Although Ricciardo could not quite pull off the win, he is feeling positive about Red Bull, who won four straight drivers’ and constructors’ titles between 2010 and 2013.
“Coming here, I really felt the package we were coming with (a win) was a realistic goal of ours that we thought we could achieve,” said Ricciardo.
“(I’m) A little bit disappointed to miss out on a win, but I’ve still got to be pretty grateful and happy with another podium.
“I think we can be podium cars, probably (in) Malaysia, Japan, Austin.
“But yeah, we might need some alternate conditions to really give us raw pace to fight for a win.” – Reuters.