The boogies, mishaps and everything else we saw at the F1 Singapore Grand Prix

All photos by Adrian Lee/Coconuts

The ultimate night race and sweaty parties have now returned at the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix in Singapore over the past weekend after the two-year pandemic hiatus.

Some F1-only things recurred while new memories were made this year. We went on all three days, braving the 302,000 attendees — the highest in F1 Singapore history — and trying to document the back-to-back performances and races amid escaping (or embracing) the torrential downpours.

Here’s what we captured:

Day 1 – Friday, Sept. 30

We came in just in time to catch the second practice session of the day at around 9pm and since we entered, the entire venue was brimming with incredibly sweaty but wide-eyed people ready for what’s to come over the next few days. Every seat at the grandstand was filled, those who were there mainly to party were already camping out at the Padang where the main stage acts performed and dance floors at the smaller stages bled out to the grass patches.

Trying to navigate around the space was tricky as every turn was a queue for something. The water-refill points made available this year for the event that prohibits food and drinks were probably sending attendees to the gross and stuffy portaloos that always had a line. Even the food and drink stands selling overpriced booze and subpar food (we’re talking S$35 for a lobster roll and $10 for a less than average hotdog) had snaking queues.

By the time we got to our pit for Marshmello’s set, the Padang was filled from side to side, with people all the way at the back trying to stand and climb on higher elements. Our ears were muffled by the end of the one-hour set where the concealed DJ only had a few words other than the usual “Put your hands up, Singapore!” “Singapore, make some noise!” in between.

He played oldies like Alone, newer hits like Here I Am, the latest single Numb with Khalid, and plenty of remixes of familiar songs.

Day 2 – Saturday, Oct. 1

The last practice session carried on in the afternoon before the qualifying round at 9pm where the pole position went to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – and he starts first on race day.

Skies turned dark real fast at around 5pm when we arrived. Before we knew it, we and hundreds at the Wharf Stage where TLC (without L) performed were caught in the heavy downpour. Suddenly, the merch stall selling ponchos for S$2 each was filled.

The set, which was supposed to start at 5:20pm delayed till 6pm while all of us waited pathetically under the relentless rain. Talk about chasing waterfalls.

But the party went on, with their DJ hyping and teasing us with classic stripper tunes like Pony by Ginuwine before introducing TLC. Thankfully, the rain stopped just in time for TLC to bust out dance moves with their backup dancers singing hits from CrazySexyCool and Fanmail.

T-Boz belted out her raspy vocals in her self-written song Unpretty, and Chilli gave us a much-needed PSA on how we shouldn’t talk to a man “who lives with his mama,” “got kids but he will not take care of them” before leading us into No Scrubs. The set then ended with Waterfalls (the version with L’s rap, of course).

After that, we scurried off to the Padang where Black Eyed Peas were going to perform for the second time in Singapore F1. But this time, without Fergie. They previously played with the dutchess in 2009 (introduced by concert host Lindsay Lohan) during the peak of their career.

We were almost fooled by the resembling vocals and thought the group spliced Fergie’s audio in the tracks but it turned out to be her replacement Jessica Reynoso aka J. Rey Soul. She joined the group in 2020 and was a finalist on The Voice of the Philippines in Season 1.

The set started with the timely Let’s Get It Started and a few other oldies like Boom Boom Pow, a rock remix of Pump It and also time for solo spotlights where shone in Bebot and in Scream & Shout, before ending with I Gotta Feeling.

Though it’s clear that the group is trying their best to move to a new era and sound, Fergie’s absence was strongly present as songs where she rapped needed to be cut short or skipped.

All this happened while we were standing on the grass patch floors that turned into muddy fields after the rain, making it tough to fully enjoy the show. RIP to those Birkenstocks we saw some of y’all wore.

Westlife ended the night and was definitely the highlight of all entertainment acts as the Irish lads came out on the dot and prepared with a full-blown psychedelic production set, dreamy video filters and multiple costume changes. The 40-year-olds also danced in sync, performing hit after hit as well as an ABBA medley that we did not expect.

At one point, they got too excited and trudged all the way down the mud aisle to get closer to us.

Vocals were still top-notch as they brought us back decades with Uptown Girl, Fool Again, Flying Without Wings and I’m Never Gonna Say Goodbye. Many did not leave when the set was over and they came back out with an encore and left audience members in awe with their rendition of Raise Me Up.

Day 3 – Sunday, Oct. 2

It’s the last lap of the entire weekend and skies turned dark and cloudy once again in Singapore’s unpredictable climate. The rain continued to reign on attendees struggling to take shelter but not for some who embraced it and camped out in their ponchos.

READ ALSO: Rain, Majulah Singapura, crashes and fireworks: Everything that happened at the F1 Singapore Grand Prix last night

Thankfully, the Driver’s Parade wasn’t affected by the downpour. All sides of the track were pressed against by spectators trying to catch a glimpse of their favorite racers before the big race.

Though the race goes on rain or shine, the weather was bad enough to get the race delayed by an hour to 9:05pm. By then, the clouds cleared and crowds cheered. It’s showtime.

Racers have to swerve through 23 corners for 61 laps on Singapore’s circuit which is labeled as one of F1’s longest and toughest races. By the end, six cars crashed or had to be towed out.

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez clinched first place with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. finishing second and third place respectively. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, who was predicted to be the world champion, finished seventh place instead.

By the end of the 3-day fest, our feet have blistered up, shoes wrecked, voices raspy and tummies empty. Going home was still a frustrating challenge as roads were blocked and only certain exits were allowed.

On the bright side, those geared up to do it all over have a whole year to prep as the next 2023 F1 Singapore Grand Prix is set to happen on Sept. 15 to 17. Early bird tickets are already up for sale.

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