x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

The humidity and the night are the difficulties in Singapore

The Virgin Racing team' sTimo Glock, who was runner-up last year and fourth the previous season, takes us on a tour of the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore

Last year I finished on the podium at Singapore. That's obviously not going to happen this year unless something goes really wrong for everyone else in the race as we just don't have that sort of pace. Even being back in the field, though, I'll really enjoy it in Singapore. I just love all street circuits - it goes back to my Champ Car days in 2005. It's so tight at the Marina Bay Circuit and there are so many points where you can crash.

You can't make any mistakes around there or else you're in trouble. There are a lot of places where you can put your car into the barriers but that's the battle, the challenge, the fun of it. Singapore is actually a very challenging circuit as a driver and it's one of those where you feel you can really make a difference as a driver even if your car might not be so quick. From the moment you step out of the plane at Singapore there's this amazing buzz to it and the atmosphere is a bit different to any other race. That's partly because it's a night race so everything runs differently and you get a slightly different feeling about it all. It's actually pretty special. It's difficult to exactly put into words how it's different in terms of atmosphere - it just is.

One unique aspect is that you're driving through the centre of a city and past many of its famous buildings and monuments. It's a cool place - I like it. Some complain that it's too bumpy and some of the kerbs are too high but that's ok with me. It's the same for all of us so you just get on with it. Last year's race went very well for me. I basically had no problems at all. I had really good pace there from first practice and I genuinely believe I got the best out of the car that day. There's just no way I could have beaten Lewis Hamilton in the race. He and McLaren were just in their own world.

I actually found the race pretty easy and that's what you want as a driver. That might not be the case this year as we've clearly had some problems but we have to aim to get both cars home and, if something crazy happens, there might be a point for us but I don't think so. Anyway, in 2009, things didn't start that well as I didn't manage to get past Fernando Alonso in the Renault. With our strategy I had to get past him, which seemed unlikely - he's a hard driver to pass.

But there was a glimmer of a chance when he started fighting Mark Webber for track position. At one point, they ran wide. I saw a small gap and I went for it. With three cars it was difficult not to touch either of them but I managed to get through and get past. That basically made my race that night. After that, the key was to leapfrog Sebastian Vettel in the pitstops and we managed that. The rest of the race I was just concentrating on my lap times but also on making sure I didn't make any mistakes.

Inside the cockpit, you could really feel the heat. The humidity was really bad in Singapore and honestly that was probably my biggest problem of the whole night. I'm quite happy with heat when racing - you're used to that - but the humidity, wow. It's so, so tough. The whole time you are just pouring with sweat and you have to remember to drink to avoid getting in trouble. When you're racing you don't worry about it, but as soon as you step from the car you feel like the strength's been drained from your legs in the humidity.

The team did a great job that night and I think I did OK. Toyota always had a reputation for doing good pitstops and they showed that. There are some things that aren't great about Marina Bay. At the start of the weekend, it was incredibly dusty and that meant little grip, which is obviously a problem at high speeds in a Formula One car. It got better as the weekend went on but it was still dusty in the race if you tried to go off line to overtake.

Some people had difficulty with the time and it being a night race but that was no problem for me. I kept on European time. OK, it felt a bit strange but I think it worked well for me.