Jolyon Palmer heads to the challenging Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore this weekend, aiming for a change of fortune at a circuit he’s run well at in the past. Jolyon dominated under the lights in Singapore in GP2 in 2013 and is a proven performer within the confines of a street circuit.
Read Jolyon’s thoughts looking ahead to the Singapore Grand Prix with the Renault Sport F1 Team below.
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!