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Monaco Grand Prix – Race Preview

It may have the slowest average speed of any track on the Formula 1 calendar, but Monaco is certainly not a Grand Prix devoid of excitement, writes Daniel Baricevic.

Critics have suggested modern cars have outgrown the Monaco track.

So tight is the Monaco street circuit, three-time Formula 1 world champion Nelson Piquet once described it as akin to “trying to cycle around your own living room”.

Whilst this may be true, the Monaco Grand Prix is still by far the most prestigious race of all, and the one every driver in the paddock wants to win the most.

The track, which winds its way around the stunning principality, provides drivers with one of the season’s toughest tests.

The proximity of the barriers and lack of run off areas requires 78 laps of pure concentration as one minor error can – and usually does – result in a race-ending accident.

Teams will be required to bring their highest downforce aerodynamic packages due to the winding nature of the track, whilst Pirelli has made the soft and super-soft compound tyres available in order to maximise mechanical grip.

Speaking of tyres, Pirelli came under a barrage of criticism following the Spanish Grand Prix, where there were a total of 77 pit-stops made, with most drivers completing a four-stop strategy just to make it to the end of the race.

But tyre degradation shouldn’t be too much of an issue this weekend, meaning qualifying will take on a much greater meaning in comparison to the previous five rounds, where some teams who made the cut for Q3 would sit it out to save themselves a set of tyres for the race.

This is good news for the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull; however maybe not so for Lotus, whose qualifying speed has been average. On a track where overtaking is borderline impossible, Kimi Raikkonen may find it difficult to repeat his 2005 heroics at Monaco.



Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will be quietly confident about a first win of the year such is their qualifying speed, whilst they shouldn’t have the tyre degradation issues that have dogged them all season.

The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have been the closest to Mercedes this season in terms of one-lap pace but have had much better race-pace, which leaves them as favourites to claim a fourth straight Monaco crown.

Although qualifying remains a weak point for Ferrari, you can never count out the majestic Fernando Alonso, who has the ability to transcend the performance of his car and pull out some amazing results.

Jenson Button and Sergio Perez are still well off the pace in their McLarens, but a strong qualifying result with a bit of luck in the race could push either of them onto the podium. Button knows how to win at Monaco, but a race win looks highly unlikely.

Of the midpack teams, the Toro Rosso duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have a big chance this weekend to showcase their qualities, as Vergne did last year to claim an impressive eighth.

Although critics will point to the fact that the pencil-thin streets will produce a race lacking in overtaking, Monaco remains an intriguing race.

Such is the difficult nature of the circuit, drivers see this weekend’s Grand Prix as more of a battle against the track than against the other drivers.

Which means that whoever stands on the top step of the podium come Sunday night will have definitely earned it.

And they’ll definitely celebrate it. Probably on a multi-million dollar yacht.

Race details

Date: Sunday, 26th May
Time (EST): 10:00pm
Site: Circuit de Monaco, Monaco
Track: 3.340km, 19 turns
Laps: 78
Race Length: 260.520 km
Lap Record: 1:14.439 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004)
Defending Champion: Mark Webber

Drivers Standings 

1. Sebastian Vettel (89pts)

2. Kimi Raikkonen (85)

3. Fernando Alonso (72)

4. Lewis Hamilton (50)

5. Felipe Massa (45)

6. Mark Webber (42)

7. Romain Grosjean (26)

8. Paul di Resta (26)

9. Nico Rosberg (22)

10. Jenson Button (17)

11. Sergio Perez (12)

12. Daniel Ricciardo (7)

13. Adrian Sutil (6)

14. Nico Hulkenberg (5)

15. Jean-Eric Vergne (1)

16. Esteban Gutierrez (0)

17. Valtteri Bottas (0)

18. Pastor Maldonado (0)

19. Jules Bianchi (0)

20. Charles Pic (0)

21. Giedo van der Garde (0)

22. Max Chilton (0)


Constructors Standings

1. Infiniti Red Bull Racing (131pts)

2. Scuderia Ferrari (117)

3. Lotus F1 Team (111)

4. Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team (72)

5. Sahara Force India (32)

6. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (29)

7. Scuderia Toro Rosso (8)

8. Sauber F1 Team (0)

9. Williams F1 Team (0)

10. Marussia F1 Team (0)

11. Caterham F1 Team (0)


Daniel Baricevic is a third-year Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter: @danielbara4

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