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Thanks to first time contributor who go’s by @theajf1 on Twitter, for his Monaco preview.
Well it’s the jewel in the crown next, Round 6 Monaco….
The Circuit de Monaco is a clockwise circuit, running through the streets of Monte Carlo and is probably the most prestigious, high profile GP of the year. Held to coincide with the Canne Film Festival, more movie stars and celebrities are seen here than at all the other GPs combined. It’s the place to be and be seen. Certainly the place to win. Glitz, glamour fame and fortune all rub shoulders in this tiny principality. Don’t be deceived : it is brutal and unforgiving. Unlike modern purpose built tracks, Monaco does not afford the drivers the luxury of error. One false move and you’re out (probably.)
The total area of Monaco covers little more than 2 square kilometers, so it comes as no surprise that it is one of the shortest laps on the calendar, a mere 3.337km, 78 laps of which make up the race distance of 260.286km. In fact Monaco is the only GP which is allowed to deviate from the FIA’s mandated 305km minimum race distance.
Monaco has a long prestigious history in F1. The first race (organized by Antony Noghes) was held in 1929, decades before the world championship began and drivers competed by invitation only. Since 1955 Monaco has continuously been part of the Formula 1 World Championship. The circuit has changed slightly over the years, as reputations have been made and destroyed in its walls and barriers. Overtaking on these narrow streets is virtually impossible, so good qualifying and grid position is paramount here. Cars run with maximum downforce and, although not a fast circuit, brakes are worked hard as La Rascasse, Sainte Devote, Massenet, Casino, Mirabeau, Portier, Tunnel, Chicane, Tabac, Piscine all take their toll.
Monaco will see the first outing of the new ultra soft (purple walled) tyres, along with the more familiar supersoft (red) and soft (yellow) walled tyres.
Monaco is unusual in that Friday is a ‘day off’ so FP1 and FP2 usually take place on Thursday, with qualifying as usual on Saturday and the race itself on Sunday .
Looking back to last year, points for Toro Roso came from Carlos Sainz who, finishing tenth, brought home the last remaining point of the day.
Daniil Kvyat, who as the new boy at Red Bull was giving the Honeybadger (Ricciardo) a run for his money, drove a great race and just missed a podium, coming in fourth, behind Hamilton in 3rd. Oh dear. Hamilton. 3rd.
It was the boy wonder, Max Verstappen’s DNF which resulted in a monumental miscalculation on the part of Mercedes leading to Hamilton not winning the race.
On L64 Max hit the back of Grosjean and ended up in the barriers at St Devote. For the first time ever in the history of F1 a virtual safety car was deployed, so the racecars had to slow down to a pre-determined speed (set by the race marshals for each sector of the track.) Not long afterwards, an actual safety car was deployed, slowing the field down even more.
Hamilton, who had previously had a 27+s lead on the rest of the field, came into the pits only to realise that his advantage had dropped to 21s, not enough to get in to the pits and out again still in front of the pack. And so it came to pass that Rosberg won a third successive victory, Vettel came second and Hamilton as we know, third. Woops. Not a happy bunny.
Rosberg, on the other hand said afterwards that it was ‘the luckiest win he’d ever had.’ The words salt and wound spring to mind.
So, who’ll lift the winner’s trophy this year? Can Rosberg make it 4 in a row: can Max win again, can Vettel take his first win of the season, or can Hamilton make up for last year’s disappointment and play a blinder? We’ll just have to wait a little while longer to get an answer to that one……..