TRACK­SIDE IN SIN­GA­PORE

GQ (Australia) - - MOTOR -

Even with the con­tin­ued pres­ence of its odd hy­brid em­blem, the Mer­lion, there’s a new buzz about Sin­ga­pore. Where once the in­ter­na­tional air­port was the best thing about the place – that and the up­stairs of­fer­ings of Lit­tle In­dia’s Mustafa Cen­tre – the tiny Asian city-state has had an injection of cool, with the Septem­ber F1 night race at the fore­front. For­get the OTT glam of Monaco and grab a day each side of the week­end to taste Sin­ga­pore’s Grand Prix party. Last year fes­tiv­i­ties in­cluded con­certs by Phar­rell Wil­liams and Span­dau Bal­let (true!), among oth­ers, with the suite of rac­ing com­ple­mented by the city’s di­verse cui­sine, stylish new retail of­fer­ings and lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion. But don’t just take our word for it. “It’s a cool race,” states Ric­cia­rdo. “And Sin­ga­pore, as a city, has a lot go­ing on. It’s just a good at­mos­phere. And be­cause it’s a street cir­cuit you can get quite close to the ac­tion; for spectators you can see us brush­ing past the walls in a few places and with the sparks com­ing off the cars it’s quite a spec­ta­cle.”

EAT­ING: At last count, Sin­ga­pore boasted 6500+ eater­ies – from Pak­istani cui­sine to Ar­gen­tinian steak­houses and Rus­sian caviar bars. But all you re­ally need know is chilli crab was in­vented here in the ’50s (try Jumbo Seafood Gallery at Clarke Quay), in­ven­tive French cui­sine lives at JAAN restau­rant, the fish head curry at Muthu’s is a must and the nu­mer­ous hawker cen­tres will sat­isfy those want­ing a lav­ish, cheap feed (try New­ton Food Cen­tre for sa­tay, grilled stingray, car­rot cake – white radish cake with eggs – and duck noo­dles). STAY: Raf­fles for its colo­nial ap­peal (and Sin­ga­pore Slings at the iconic Long Bar), Ma­rina Bay Sands for the dra­matic, rooftop in­fin­ity pool and the Fuller­ton Ho­tel for ac­tual views of the race and its gen­er­ous F1 pack­ages. DRINK: The ul­ti­mate VIP F1 af­ter­party is at Am­ber Lounge, and it’s hard to beat Tan­jong Beach Club on Sen­tosa Is­land. As for a de­cent rooftop – try 1-Al­ti­tude or Loof, though we’ll be found at the more sub­dued Lepark or Bin­cho at Hua Bee. n The 2016 Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix runs Septem­ber 16-18; sin­ga­poregp.sg

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