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Perfect 10

And Singapore may score beyond that as an extension of the Formula One contract is expected to be announced anytime now

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Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in action during the Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit as seen from Swissotel The Stamford on Sept 20, 2015.

Singapore

THE nine instalments of the Singapore Grand Prix seem to have zipped by just as quickly as a Formula One car.

This weekend's F1 race will be the 10th and by all accounts, not quite the last one. With an extension expected to be announced anytime now, here's a high-speed look at the past races.

2008

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The five red lights go out at the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. But the very first Singapore Grand Prix was actually held in the late 1960s in Upper Thomson Road.

Instead of farms and rambutan trees though, the 21st century edition has a more stunning backdrop. Best of all, it is the only F1 race to be held after dark, amid an atmospheric night cityscape that appears magical to TV audiences.

On the ground, it's a carnival for all race-goers all around the circuit, with F&B stands and merchandise stalls festively illuminated by giant lanterns.

In the Paddock Club's hospitality suites in the newly completed S$40 million pit building, there is a unique lifestyle area with a champagne bar, food stands, live entertainment and even a spa, courtesy of race promoter and hotelier Ong Beng Seng's team.

Fernando Alonso takes the chequered flag after his Renault team-mate crashes his car - deliberately, it is revealed the following year - at the floating platform.

2009

The greatest F1 show on earth continues but with major organisational improvements. Some lessons learnt include improved security and crowd control. And unlike the previous year, every piece of the infrastructure is in place, including the washrooms and landscaping.

The extensive road closures do not cause as much chaos this year as motorists and other visitors to the Marina Square area now know to avoid it.

But the economic downturn means that the debut race's 100,000 tickets sold have dropped to 79,000.

McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton lifts the winner's trophy.

2010

The economic recovery boosts ticket sales to 81,350, with overseas visitors and financial institutions leading the demand. Corporate clients from other industries such as legal, shipping and fast-moving consumer goods also snap up space in hospitality suites. Trackside hotels, almost at full capacity, are another beneficiary.

The Singapore race is described by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone as F1's crown jewel and little wonder. After all, it costs about S$150 million to host each grand prix, with the race promoter picking up 40 per cent of the tab and the government the rest.

Fernando Alonso wins again but this time, in a Ferrari.

2011

F1 ticket sales continue to grow to 82,500, with Paddock Club tickets sold out two months before the race.

The grand prix is also boosting the MICE or meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions segment, with MICE events being held to coincide with the night race.

The government reveals that the first three races not only brought in more than 110,000 unique visitors to Singapore, or those who came because of the grand prix, but also drew over S$400 million in incremental tourism receipts.

Sebastian Vettel starts from pole to win in his Red Bull Racing car - the first of his four Singapore titles to date.

2012

In the last year of its five-year contract, Singapore announces it has signed a new five-year deal to continue hosting the race.

A government-commissioned study had reported the race would reap S$1 billion in net economic output over 10 years, with another S$1 billion over the same period in increased tourism and investment.

The F1 race has certainly raised Singapore's profile, with 360 million TV viewers tuning in to the first four races and 150,000 tourists visiting Singapore and generating S$560 million in incremental tourism receipts. Sebastian Vettel wins again.

2013

Ticket sales jump to 87,500 - the highest since the first race in 2008. About 40 per cent are bought by overseas fans, with the top 10 markets being - in alphabetical order - Australia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, the UK and the US.

Race promoter Singapore GP says that the buyers are a mix of tourists and business people. As for local fans, one insight stands out - 40 per cent of Bay Grandstand tickets are bought by families. The Bay Grandstand looks out to the floating platform, where the National Day Parade is held.

Sebastian Vettel wins his third straight race here.

2014

Singapore Airlines takes over from Singtel as the F1 title sponsor at a reported S$10 million a year, or about the same as its predecessor's annual investment.

Ticket sales fall to 84,454, even as the hospitality suites are refreshed for a cool, resort look and the F&B menus expanded by local celebrity chefs and five-star hotels.

Lewis Hamilton starts in pole to take the chequered flag in his Mercedes - his second win here.

2015

Ticket sales improve, rising to 86,970, and so does Sebastian Vettel's form. But this time, he crosses the finish line at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in a Ferrari, after leaving Red Bull for the prancing horse at end-2014.

Two things stood out during the race - the fact that the evening was relatively haze-free despite a particularly bad year of smog, and that a spectator - dressed appropriately for the balmy night in bermudas - ran onto the track on lap 37.

2016

The sluggish economy means ticket sales slump to its lowest - just 73,000 - with a noticeably smaller crowd in the Paddock Club. It wasn't a surprise, though, with the depressed offshore marine and banking sectors.

Mercedes continues to dominate the season and as expected, its driver, Nico Rosberg, wins.

After Singapore, the F1 procession heads across the Causeway for the Malaysian Grand Prix - the first time in 15 years it is being held in the second half of the season instead of in March.

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