SINGAPORE: When Muhammad Salihin Bin Masnor found out he had won the opportunity, as a lucky CNA Lifestyle Facebook follower, to meet four-time Formula 1 world racing champion Sebastian Vettel in the flesh, he immediately called his father.
“I told him I’m flying home from Phnom Penh for this, and that he was going to be my plus-one!” said the Temasek Polytechnic student, who is currently based in Cambodia for an internship.
“I cannot believe that I got a chance to meet, chat and take a photo with my F1 hero. I’ve been a fan of Sebastian ever since my father introduced me to F1!”
As part of CNA Lifestyle Experiences, a series of exclusive events for CNA Lifestyle Facebook fans, Salihin – along with fellow contest winners Fan Peiyi, Khairunnishah Hambali, Nadia Goh and Jeyakanthan Vijay – had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with the 31-year-old Scuderia Ferrari German motorsports star ahead of the big Singapore GP race on Sunday (Sep 16).
The five winners and their invited guests spent their Thursday afternoon (Sep 13) mingling and chatting with Vettel, taking photos, getting hugs and even passing him gifts.
It was the perfect opportunity to ask Vettel some burning questions, like Peiyi’s query about the story behind his lucky coin.
“I have two coins, actually. I got them from my grandmother from a long time ago,” he said.
“Since I can remember, I’ve always had them with me, normally in my pocket, but then race suits got rid of pockets because of weight reasons. So I had to store them somewhere else and the only other place was the shoe.”
Peiyi and Khairunnishah were selected, along with three other fans hosted by Shell, brand partner of Scuderia Ferrari, to go head to head with Vettel in a special remote control car race titled Shell Mini Grand Prix.
Vettel is the main challenger for the world title to Britain's Lewis Hamilton, and winning here in at the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix could prove to be the game-changer for this season.
“Singapore’s been a very, very good place for me,” he told CNA Lifestyle with a smile. “I’ve won a couple of times, so yeah, we’re back!”
Indeed, Singapore and its night race hold a special place in Vettel’s heart. After all, he has quite an impressive record here. Since it began in 2008, Vettel has won at the circuit four times – in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 – the most among his rivals.
“Singapore, in particular the toughest race in the calendar, because it’s very humid… the track is very bumpy, very twisty and there’s a lot of corners,” Vettel admitted to CNA Lifestyle.
“Even though it’s tough, I like coming here. It’s one of my favourite races!”
This edition of CNA Lifestyle Experiences was made possible by Shell V-Power Nitro+.