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Nico: “I still have the lead and I’m determined to hold on to it”

Nico: “I still have the lead and I’m determined to hold on to it”

Even though it didn’t work out quite the way I’d hoped, there were still plenty of positives to take away from Monza. Once again our Silver Arrow looked super quick compared to our rivals and hopefully we can carry that right through to the end of the season. Of course, I was disappointed to drop points to my team-mate in the Championship battle – but I still have the lead and I’m determined to hold on to it. Next up it’s the Singapore Grand Prix, which is definitely one of the highlights of the year. There’s an amazing atmosphere and the whole city really comes to life for the race weekend. It’s just unreal – I would really recommend anybody to go there if they can as it’s a fantastic experience. The circuit, the city, the atmosphere… everything! The way they basically shut down a whole place just for Formula One is incredible and it’s amazing to think of all the work that must go into making it happen. I got my second ever podium here with P2 in 2008 and I generally enjoy street circuits, so I’m looking to go one better this time around.

Singapore: In The Cockpit With Nico

From a drivers’ point of view, Singapore is a really tough weekend – mainly because of the strange timings and the heat. We come to this race straight from the European stage of the season, so it’s a big change and your body has to adapt quickly to get the best out of the weekend. Again, the heat and humidity is probably the main thing. You’re sweating so much during every session that it’s hard to stay focused and be at your best for every single lap.

As drivers, we need to do some quite specific training to be ready physically for these kinds of races. You can lose up to four litres of fluid during the race and this can be quite critical as it affects your concentration. The final part of the race is never enjoyable as everything starts to hurt. It’s also one of the longest races of the year – running right up to the two hour limit almost every time.

It’s not like the track itself makes this any easier either. You’re constantly working at the wheel to get the car round a lap and there’s not time to relax at all. It’s just one corner after the other, with very few straight and the highest number of turns of any circuit we visit. That makes it really demanding physically even in normal conditions, so with the humidity in Singapore it really does become one of the toughest race weekend of the season.

Being a street circuit also means that even the smallest mistake can have big consequences, with the track so narrow and the walls so close. It’s a big challenge and one that I really enjoy. Having a night race around a street circuit is something different and spectacular to watch I’m sure. Although it’s dark outside, they put so many lights up around the track that it doesn’t really make a difference when you’re behind the wheel. It’s so bright that it’s almost like racing in the day time. We use special visors to block out the glare – but if anything your vision is probably even better than at a normal daytime race. We haven’t had any rain here before, though, and that could really spice things up. Not only would it be unknown territory for every driver, but visibility could be really tricky with the reflections from the lights.

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