It’s the big one. When you think of Monte Carlo, you think of glitz, glamour and yachts, and it’s never more on display than at the most popular Grand Prix on the calendar. It’s where everyone from royalty to actors and singers attend the race, even if they are not devoted racing fans.
The first Monaco Grand Prix was held in 1929 and since 1955 it has been on the calendar without fail. On Sunday we’ll be spoiled with 78-laps around the 3.3 kilometer street-circuit which is 3 meters shorter this year, so the 2004 lap-record of Michael Schumacher should be broken this weekend.
Ayrton Senna holds the record for the most victories in Monaco with six in total between 1987 and 1993 and in recent times we’ve seen Alonso, Button, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel win the prestigious race, but it’s Nico Rosberg who’ll feel most confident on Sunday as he’ll be going for his third win in a row at Monaco.
Rosberg also won the last race in Spain and would want to build on that performance, but he’ll have stern competition from the other Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton looks like he could win anytime he wants to and as long as his car stays reliable, he’ll be the favourite going into every race.
Pirelli announced that they’ll be supplying a “super-soft” tyre for the weekend, which should last longer and allow most drivers to be on a one-stop strategy on Sunday. We’ll see how the teams adapt to this new compound and I can imagine the likes of Ferrari hoping to capitalise.
With not many long straights and a whole city full of tight corners, the playing field should be a bit more level between the Mercedes and Ferrari’s, but I also expect the Williams and Red Bull drivers to have a real go at it as they know that anything is possible in Monte Carlo.
I still remember the 1996 race when Olivier Panis, driving a Ligier, won in the rain after all but three cars retired. I remember saying that he “survived the race” instead of “won the race”. Now I don’t hope to see as many retirements, but I’m sure we’ll see some exciting racing and with the narrow streets and tight corners, it’s very difficult to overtake, so a good start off the grid can change the whole race.
I won’t be watching the race from a yacht this year, but at least I’ll have the luxury of replays. Enjoy the race!