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Prixview – Monaco Grand Prix

Round six of the season Formula One head to the Mediterranean city-state of Monaco. Monaco this year celebrates ninety years since the first running of the race around this very similar street circuit. The circuit combines glamour, a tricky circuit to overtake and guaranteed drama throughout the weekend.

Monaco remains one of the most important races not just for F1, but for the global motorsport community, its one of the most prestigious races sitting alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, forms the Triple Crown of Motorsport.

It’s also one of the driver’s favourite races because of the demands on drivers concentration and car control. It also features the slowest corner of the seasons, as well as placing tough demands on brakes and gearboxes, meaning safety car features in nearly every race. This makes Monaco the most unpredictable race of the year and the most important race win for the drivers, regardless of how many times you have won.

The first race around the circuit was in 1929 when Prince Louis II was convinced to create the circuit in support of the local driver Louis Chiron. Chiron thought Monaco’s topography well-suited to setting up a race track. The first race was won by William Grover-Williams, no relation to the current team, in a Bugatti. Chiron is the only driver to win his home race in Monaco after victory in 1931, though many drivers call Monaco home.

The first world championship race was held in 1950, although there were a few races in the 1940s but was on hiatus due to WWII. The second round of the first world championship saw   victory for five times champion Juan Manuel Fangio, but after a five year break the race returned in 1955 and has been held continuously ever since.

Traditionally the race his held on the Sunday before the Spring Bank Holiday across Europe, Holy Thursday marks the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven.

Monaco has retained much of its iconic corners throughout the past ninety years, Rascasse, Tabac, Casino Square and Sainte Devote make the street circuit one of the sports best known circuits in the world. The circuit has seen memorable moments and dominance by Mr Monaco Graham Hill in the 1960’s, Hamilton’s incredible drive in the wet in 2008.

Monaco was home to one of the most closely fought battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Between the two them they won every race between 1984-93, the 1988 race is remembered for Senna famously crashed out with ten laps remaining and leading the race and did not contact the team until he walked into the pit garage as they were packing up later that night.

Monte Carlo is often described as driving your bike around your living room, it is one of the most difficult races of the season to overtake. But that creates crazy racing, it also means that the strategy is very important and can win but also lose races. But being in front is a huge advantage as it can bring rewards, this circuit isn’t about out speed but the driver’s skill.

In recent years Mercedes have struggled to unlock the potential of the cars, but this could represent Ferrari’s best chance to fight for there first win of the season. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel who have two wins each, but the pressure is definitely on Ferrari as they look to kick start their season.

Eyes are also on Charles Leclerc, in his home Grand Prix whether in F1 or F2 he has failed to finish in the race in the points. Last year, a break disc failure saw him crash into the back of Brendon Hartley, both were forced to retire due to damage.

Can he break that bad luck and be the first Monacan winner in Formula One and secure Ferrari’s first win of the year?

Facts and figures

Round 06 of 21
Race Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2019
Venue Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Circuit Length 3.337km (2.074 mi)
Laps 78
Race Distance 260.286km (161.734 mi)
Lap Record 01:14.820 (Sergio Pérez, Force India-Mercedes, 2017)
Most wins drivers Ayrton Senna (6)
Most wins manufacture McLaren (15)

Fast facts

  • The city-state is the most densely populated country in the world after Monaco. It’s estimated that 49,106 people live per square mile in the tiniest country on the calendar. The second most densely populated state, Singapore, also hosts a Grand Prix.
  • Measuring just 3.34km (2.07 miles), the tight and twisty layout of F1’s shortest circuit presents a real challenge for drivers. Overtaking is extremely difficult, which makes a good qualifying position even more important.
  • Monaco holds the record for lowest classified and race finishers in 1966 only four cars were classified as finishing, while in 1996 only three cars actually finished the race.
  • There has been a safety car period in Monaco Grand Prix this decade. The chances of a safety car is around 60%
  • On average, a driver changes gear 62 times per lap at Monaco. The longest period they spend at full throttle is around 7.5 seconds (going through the tunnel).

Event timetable

Session

Local

BST

Thursday

P1 11:00-12:30 10:00-11:30
P2 15:00-16:30 14:00-15:30

Saturday

P3 12:00-13:00 11:00-12:00
Qualifying 15:00-16:00 14:00-15:00

Sunday

Race 15:10 14:10

What happened in 2018?

Daniel Ricciardo continued his dominance in qualifying around the streets of Monte Carlo. Red Bull appeared to have the advantage over both Mercedes and Ferrari in practice, however, Verstappen was unable to take part in the session.

The Dutchman crashed out in third practice, causing huge damage to the rear end after crashing in FP3 into the wall at the Swimming Pool. Charles Leclerc would start his home race thirteenth showing strong pace in the Sauber.

Ricciardo continued to show that Red Bull had the pace and performance on low-speed circuits taking his first win in Monaco. The win was remarkable, the team had concerns about not finishing the race because of an ERS issue.

The ERS issue allowed Vettel to close up on Ricciardo, after dropping back along with Hamilton. But this was Monaco anything can happen, the drama came in the closing stages for Leclerc, the Sauber reported a breaking issue.

As he exited the tunnel the brakes let go, which caused him to skied the car down towards the harbour chicane and into the back of Brendon Hartley, and into retirement. The Monacan told BBC News “I had no brakes, it is just a shame because it happens at (my) home (race) but there were a lot of positives to take from this weekend and forget the negatives.”

Race Result – 1) D. Ricciardo, Red Bull – Tag Heuer 01:45:54.807, 2) S. Vettel, Ferrari, +07.336 3) L. Hamilton, Mercedes, +17.013

What to watch for?

Monaco isn’t a race as such were overtaking is easy, that means that qualifying is very important as it makes the chances of good points easier. The race is one where you don’t know what’s going to happen, this means that drivers and teams need to be on the ball with strategy as it can win and lose races.

This is the first low-speed street circuit of the season, unlike Baku it doesn’t require the speed and is more downforce dependant. This could be a headache for Mercedes, as Ferrari and Red Bull will be in the mix and challenging them for the race win and track position. The undercut is powerful, as it can result in net position gains but if the teams get it wrong they could lose a lot of ground and track position.

Qualifying can cause surprises as accidents which cause yellow and red flags, being aware of what is going on around you as well as car space is very important. Teams need to give clear communication is needed, on traffic because this is the shortest circuit of the season.

The watchword in the latter part of the race, is concentration as the drivers need to remain on the ball one error can send you into the barriers or another car. Wheel to wheel racing can be close and gripping, but if a driver makes a mistake other drivers may be caught in the accident.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap

2018

01:12.126 01:11.841 01:11.786 01:12.013 01:11.278 01:10.810 01:42:54.807 01:14.260

Diff

-1.299 -0.879 -0.609 -1.077 –0.953 -1.360 -02:10.547 -0.560

2017

01:13.425 01:12.720 01:12.395 01:13.090 01:12.231 01:12.178 01:44:44.340 01:14.820

A lap of Monte Carlo

Daniel Ricciardo runs on the inside as he starts the lap on the short straight to Sanite Devote before he moves to the inside briefly before breaking. Returns to the outside as he approaches Sainte Devote nicely through then goes to the outside. Carries the speed off up the hill through the kink at Beau Rivage, breaks as he goes through Massenet goes to the inside setting himself up well through Casino Square.

Breaks on his way to Mirabeau Haute hits the apex as he round the kink. Breaks as he goes through the slowest corner of the season, around the apex before running into Mirabeau Bas taking a bit of the kerb. Goes to the outside setting himself up nicely for Portier gets a good exit going to the outside stays there as he genitally carries speed through the tunnel. Moves on the latter part of the corner to the inside, before going back to the outside. Breaks 100m before the Nouvelle Chicane hits the apex on entry and gets a good exit. Carries a bit of speed on his way through Tabac.

Continues to speed up on his way to Louis Chiron taking the chicane nicely. Breaks on the exit of the Swimming Pool, good through fifteen. Breaks early for Rascasse takes it slowly going to the outside and does the same at Antony Noghes. Goes to the inside where he stays doing a 1:10.810 to take pole.

Tyres

Driver

Team

White Hard (C3)

Yellow Medium (C4)

Red Soft (C5)

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 1 2 10
V. Bottas 1 2

10

S. Vettel

Ferrari 1 1 11
C. Leclerc 1 1

11

M. Verstappen

Red Bull – Honda 1 1 11
P. Gasly 1 1

11

D. Riccardo

Renault 2 1 10
N. Hulkenberg 1 2

10

K. Magnussen

Haas – Ferrari 1 2 10
R. Grosjean 1 2

10

C. Sainz Jr

McLaren – Renault 1 2 10
L. Norris 1 2

10

S. Perez

Racing Point –Mercedes 2 2 9
L. Stroll 2 2

9

K. Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo – Ferrari 1 2 10
A. Giovinazzi 1 2

10

D. Kvyat

Toro Rosso –Honda 1 2 10
A. Albon 1 2

10

G. Russell

Williams – Mercedes 1 3 9
R. Kubica 1 3

9

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Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.
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