Button looking forward to “novelty” of Singapore

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Jenson Button has expressed his excitement for next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, praising the event for being unique and a “wonder” in Formula One.

The race is the only event on the calendar to start and finish at night, making it a spectacle for the fans and a challenge for drivers, teams and all personnel involved with the sport. Although the novelty of racing under the lights may have worn off for some, Button is still as excited as ever to be taking on the Marina Bay street circuit once again.

“I remember the first time we raced at Singapore, it seemed incredible to think that we could hold a Formula One race at night,” Button said in McLaren’s race preview. “I must say, the thrill and novelty of racing through spotlit streets is just as intense for me today as it was when we first raced there – it’s a unique spectacle, and one that I think is brilliant for F1.

“In fact, the Singapore Grand Prix is one of the wonders of modern sport.”

The race has proven to be a success, now entering its sixth year, and the likes of Abu Dhabi and Bahrain have followed in its footsteps with the latter rumored to be planning a night race for 2014. However, the long lap and extreme heat does mean that the drivers are tested physically, with Button acknowledging the circuit’s challenge.

“This is also a race where good fitness preparation really pays off: the race is usually close to the two-hour limit, so it’s the longest physical challenge on the calendar.”

Having finished second in the past two runnings of the race, Button will be keen on continuing this run of form but the lacklustre pace of the McLaren MP4-28 could cost him a shot at the podium.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”