Jubilant winners and hapless also-rans are alike and one-voiced in heaping their accolades on the Singapore Grand Prix.
The chorus of approval for Marina Bay’s ultimate test of the stamina of both the drivers and their thoroughbred cars in uniquely testing conditions, is a rare alliance of agreement among Formula One’s bitter rivals.
But the top guys, the front runners and those forlorn chasers in the cars that merely make up the numbers on the grid, all look forward with eager anticipation to the challenge offered by the flyaway circuit in its countdown to season’s end.
Jenson Button, McLaren’s struggler this year so far in an indifferent car, but second-placed twice in the last two years, raves about the track and its after-dark dangers.
The 2009 champion says ahead of round 13 of 19: ‘It is a unique spectacle, brilliant for F1 and a terrific test of driver and car.
‘Fitness is an absolute priority and it really pays off in a gruelling race that is usually close to the two-hour limit.
‘It is the longest physical challenge we face – and I can ‘t wait.
‘I recall the first time we competed there… in 2008… and it seemed incredible that we could race at night. The thrill and novelty of hurtling through spot-lit streets is just as intense today as it was when we first went there.
‘The Singapore Grand Prix is without doubt one of the wonders of modern sport.’
The 33-year-old’s boss, Martin Whitmarsh, is in full agreement and said: ‘Everybody in Formula One now regards the Singapore event as one of the cornerstones of the Grand Prix calendar.
‘It is a fine spectacle, very hard and tough on the drivers in hot and humid conditions with very little time to relax on a bumpy track. But it all adds up to one of the miracles of televised sport.
‘It has been an incredibly ambitious and imaginative idea that has developed into a great success.’
German wonderboy Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull’s three-time champion will be hunting down his third win in Singapore, his seventh of the season to firm up his title lead.
And the 26-year-old says with pride: ‘My two wins in Singapore in 2011 and 2012 were among the best and most satisfying of my career because it is one of the toughest races of the season.
‘To be a winner around Marina Bay is amazing and you feel afterwards you really do need and deserve that champagne. It is two hours and it seems to go on forever but it is a fantastic test with no room for mistakes.
‘You and the car have to be at your best. And that is our aim for next Sunday night. I think all those people who turn up will have a great night out.’