Monaco, what F1 dreams are made of!

22 May

The track is regularly referred to as the jewel in the F1 crown and is a circuit like no other.

Ask any driver which Grand Prix they’d most like to win and most of them would say Monaco. Every corner has a history and every year we get a new chapter to the tale of the glitziest grand prix, there’s every chance this year could be one of the best yet. We come into this race in a great position, 5 different constructors winning the first 5 races and there are at least 10 drivers who could be a winner and if a bit of Monaco magic occurs anything is possible.

Monaco is a track full of some of the most famous corners, Tabac, where in 1950 a freak tidal wave caused a 9 car pile up; La Rascasse, where in 2006 Michael Schumacher famously parked his car to stop anyone going faster than him in qualifying; the Loews Hairpin, the slowest corner in F1; Casino, the site of the famous Grand Casino and the corner simply known as a tunnel, the only place on an F1 circuit where the use of DRS is banned, and there are more!

The Lowes Hairpin a site of much controversy for Lewis Hamilton last year.

There has been many a great GP at Monaco: 1984 when Ayrton Senna famously drove the wheels off his Toleman F1 car to come so close to a victory; 1982 when no one really had a clue who the winner was, 1992 when Ayrton had to do everything he could to stop Nigel Mansell overtaking; 1970 when it came down to Jack Brabham crashing at the very last corner. In more recent years 2010 was a year when only 12 drivers crossed the finishing line (the record though is 3 when Olivier Panis won in 1996) and last year it felt like every driver went in front of the stewards especially Lewis Hamilton.

This year we have 7 previous Monaco winners on the grid and it could go to anyone of them.

McLaren have been the team to beat this season but problems have meant they’ve only got 1 race victory under their belt. Due to the nature of overtaking at Monaco this circuit could be won or lost in the pit stops, one of the things McLaren haven’t done so well at this year. As well as this Jenson Button has said that this years McLaren won’t suit Monaco so don’t count on them winning but Lewis and Jenson are desperate for a win and should never be ruled out. Chances of victory = 6/10 Definitely contenders but may struggle.

Red Bull started the season slowly but are now very close to being the pace setters. Since Bahrain the car has looked like the Red Bulls we’ve been used to and I believe that their poor performance at Spain two weeks ago was an anomaly and if they perform well very few drivers will be able to take the fight to them. Chances of victory = 8/10 they’ve won the last two Monaco GPs, is there anyone who can stop them taking a third?

If you go to Monaco and don’t see a Ferrari then you’re doing something wrong.

Ferrari may not have the most competitive car but when Fernando Alonso is behind the wheel anything is possible. Despite this the Ferrari has been particularly poor in qualifying – which is generally where the race is won or lost. On current form there is a greater chance of pigs flying than Felipe Massa winning a race and although he’s long been one of my favourite drivers I can’t see him changing his luck for Monaco. Chances of victory = 5/10, probably won’t happen but don’t rule them out.

Mercedes are in a good position for the Monaco GP, they perform better in qualifying in qualifying then in the race and Monaco is a circuit where qualifying on pole can win the race. Of the two drivers Rosberg has the better chance of winning and if he does he’ll effectively have won his home GP as he’s spent much of his life living there. Chances of winning = 7/10 if the car is set up properly and can qualify high up then they are serious contenders.

The history is everywhere!

Lotus have twice come close to winning a GP this year but in both of them the race was just a few laps too short. If any team is going to make it 6 different constructors on the top step in 6 races Lotus are the team to do that, the car is quick, the drivers are quick and all it would take for this team to become a race winner is a little bit of luck. Chance of winning = 7/10 they’ve been the unluckiest team so far, can their luck change in time for a Monaco victory?

Williams have been the surprise this season and the car is clearly capable of winning after what we saw at Spain two weeks ago. As well as that Maldonado’s best track is Monaco and Senna needs to pull his socks up so don’t rule him out of big points. Will Maldonado become a serious championship contender or will it be a Senna on the top of the podium for the 7th time. Chances of victory = 6/10 Even last year in a slow Williams Maldonado came close to finishing 6th.

Even when Formula 1 isn’t in town there are still signs of the link.

Sauber have performed well this year and have pulled some stunning results out of the bag but I wonder how confident Sergio will be after his crash last year and this isn’t a circuit that suits Kamui’s overtaking style. Having said that though last year Kamui did finish 5th. Chances of winning = 4/10 Stranger things have happened at Monaco.

Toro Rosso are in the awkward position neither of it’s drivers competing in the Monaco GP before. Not only that but their performances this year have been inconsistent to say the least and despite qualifying 6th at Bahrain the weekends have been more disappointing than special. Chances of victory = 2/10 Not this year.

Force India haven’t lived up to their hype this year and although they have had good days they’ve had too many bad ones. Nico Hulkenburg has never completed a race lap at Monaco because in 2010 he crashed in the tunnel and last year Paul Di Resta lost many a nose at the Lowes Hairpin. Chances of victory = 2/10 maybe pointsworthy.

Caterham, Marussia and HRT can only hope that enough drivers retire for them to finish in the points or that they suddenly get some divine help. Chances of winning = 1/10 If every other driver retires then they are in with a chance.

The Automobile Club of Monaco

The photos are from my summer holiday, despite there being no racing on at the time it was an amazing experience and I thoroughly recommend walking the track to any F1 enthusiast.

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