Photographer: Lorenzo Bellanca/Getty Images
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Singapore's Nighttime Grand Prix Lights Up the F1 Calendar

The champagne flowed as Nico Rosberg won Singapore's ninth Formula One Grand Prix last night, holding off a nail-biting late challenge from Infiniti Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo. The 61-lap night-time street race, unique in the F1 calendar, is also the city-state's biggest international party, mixing rock concerts, gala dinners, corporate hospitality and hundreds of other events around the glare of the blazing artificial lighting that illuminates the 5-kilometer circuit.

  1. 1

    The Singapore Grand Prix's Marina Bay City Circuit.

    The twisting Singapore F1 track takes the screaming cars through the city's scenic downtown, past six five-star hotels, more than a dozen roof-top bars and along the skyscraper city's scenic waterfront, making the race weekend perfect for parties.

    Photographer: Wong Maye-E/AP

  2. 2

    German racer Nico Rosberg drives the Mercedes F1 WO7 Hybrid during final practice.

    Almost 100,000 people can fit inside the Circuit Park, a fenced-off area for fans with tickets. The size of 80 football fields, the park connects Singapore's colonial-era center to the modern hotels and entertainment venues on the reclaimed land around Marina Bay.

    Photographer: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

  3. 3

    Carlos Sainz Jr. of Spain races in a Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11.

    The track is set up every year by a crew of more than 4,000, working for five months, with much of the effort focused over the last two weeks. The roads used have a special type of hard-wearing surface and the manhole covers have to be welded shut for the race. Still it's not all modern and high-tech—part of the circuit runs over the 106-year-old Anderson Bridge.

    Photographer: Lorenzo Bellanca/Getty Images

  4. 4

    Australian Daniel Ricciardo takes the track during practice.

    Each year the Singapore F1 Grand Prix generates approximately S$150 million ($110 million) in so-called incremental tourism receipts. That's also the cost of staging the event, according to promoter SingaporeF1, with 60 percent of the budget covered by the government.

    Photographer: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

  5. 5

    Daniil Kvyat of Russia behind the wheel of a Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11.

    The success of the Singapore Grand Prix is in contrast with some other races in the nine-month season. Formula One’s global audience fell to 400 million last year from 600 million in 2008 partly due to a shift to pay-TV in some markets. With TV viewership slumping in places like the U.K., Formula One has added races in new venues such as Azerbaijan, making a record 21 events in the current season.

    Photographer: Lorenzo Bellanca/Getty Images

  6. 6

    Racers gather at the starting line.

    More than 200,000 spectators have attended the three-day event in Singapore each year since the city's first race in 2008, with tourists flying in from as far afield as Europe and Australia. Singapore initially planned to construct a Formula One racetrack near the airport in the early 1990s, but decided to build a golf course on the site instead.

    Photographer: Allan Lee/AFP via Getty Images

  7. 7

    Spectators watch British indie pop band Bastille perform.

    One of the main attractions of the Singapore F1 weekend is the big-name rock concerts held each night. This year it was the turn of Kylie Minogue, Imagine Dragons, Bastille and Queen (with Adam Lambert standing in for Freddie Mercury).

    Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Singapore GP via Getty Images

  8. 8

    Ferrari team members stand next to Scuderia Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen's car in the pit lane ahead of the race.

    Ticket prices for the 2016 event ranged from S$38 for limited access to Friday's practice race to S$1,925 for a three-day pass to the Pit Grandstand. Tickets for next year's 10th anniversary race went on sale last week.

    Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

  9. 9

    Max Verstappen of the Netherlands practices with his Red Bull RB12 TAG Heuer on during practice.

    Singapore's biggest challenge other than having to rapidly assemble and disassemble the temporary circuit, is lighting the track to meet the stringent safety requirements without blinding the drivers or spectators, said Colin Syn, who's in charge of the technical aspects of the Singapore race. The solution? A 3 million-watt lighting circuit with 1,600 metal-halide lamps that make the track four times brighter than a sports stadium.

    Photographer: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

  10. 10

    Sahara Force India's German racer Nico Hulkenberg crashes his VJM09 car during a rough start.

    What's fun for the fans is hell for the drivers. Singapore's track has 23 turns or corners, the largest number in Formula One, making it typically the slowest circuit and forcing drivers to change gears some 80 times per lap, 50 percent more than the season average. Even at night, Singapore's heat and humidity take their toll, with drivers losing 3 liters of water or more during the two-hour race.

    Photographer: Edwin Koo/Singapore GP via Getty Images

  11. 11

    Mercedes pit crew perform a tire change on the car of Nico Rosberg during a practice run.

    The local start time of 8 p.m. Sunday, the latest of any Grand Prix in the Formula One season, ensures European-based fans can catch the race at their usual afternoon time, and provides a prime-time TV slot for Asia-based fans.

    Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

  12. 12

    Nico Rosberg leaps from his car after winning the Grand Prix.

    Singapore's current deal with Formula One runs out next year, but the promoter says it will meet with the parties involved to discuss an extension soon after Sunday's race. Liberty Media Corp. earlier this month agreed to buy the company that controls Formula One from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners Ltd. for $4.4 billion.

    Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images