With 5 rounds of the longest Formula One calendar done and dusted, the teams and drivers continue their European tour in the principality of Monte Carlo. The circuit is one of the oldest on the calendar having had the very first race way back in 1950! In terms of the championship, it is status quo between the two Mercedes drivers after their almighty coming together in Spain and shunting each other out of the race.
However, the accident meant that Lewis Hamilton was relegated to 3rd place by Kimi Raikkonen. Putting their disappointment behind them all of Mercedes’ focus will be on bouncing back.
Monaco is usually a track suited to the Red Bull team due to the reliance on downforce, so there is every reason to expect either Daniel Ricciardo or Max Verstappen on the podium. This race will also bear witness to the use of the purple-walled ultrasoft tires for the very first time.
The Track: Located along the French Riviera, it is one of the most demanding tracks of the calendar. It is home to both the slowest and the fastest corner of the calendar. Because the track is so tight and twisty, it completely negates the need for speed and the emphasis is laid on precision and driver skill. It is no wonder that despite the tricky nature of the Circuit De Monaco, it remains a firm favourite for the drivers.
The most successful driver is the late great Ayrton Senna with an astonishing six wins. Going on a flying lap of the Circuit De Monaco, you accelerate down the straight and hope you survive the first corner that is Sainte Devote, it is very easy to make a mistake and turn the corner into an apocalyptic scene straight out of an F1 2015 online lobby.
If you survive that you have to carefully navigate the left-right kinks of Beau Rivage and then a long left-hander called Massenet and immediately flick it right for Casino, a short straight and hard on the anchors for the first of the hairpins a right hander corner Mirabeau Haute and avoiding the bump and another hairpin, a left-hander this time, Grand Hotel and that spits you out onto the right-handed Mirabeau Bas and leads onto a second right-hander Portier.
Exiting that corner the track opens up into the yawning tunnel and braking hard for the Nouvelle Chicane, a short burst of speed and brake for Tabac and a left-right sequence called Louis Chiron and Piscine (also called the Swimming Pool complex) then another set of chicanes and stamping on the brakes for Rascasse (recently unofficially rechristened Michael Schumacher’s Parking Spot). Post that you head into the final corner Anthony Noghes, get as close to the barrier as humanly possible and get a good exit and there is your banker lap.
Circuit Length: 3.337 kms/2.074mi
Race Length: 260.286kms/161.734mi
Tires Available: Ultrasoft, Supersoft, Soft, Intermediate, Wet
Tyre allocations for Monaco:
The Monaco GP would also see the debut of the Pirelli ultrasoft tyres with a purple band around them. The Mercedes drivers have 10 sets of the new compound. Here are the tyre selections in full.
26 May Practice 1 & 2 (Thursday)
28 May Practice 3 & Qualifying (Saturday)
29 May Race (Sunday)
UK: BBC, Sky Sports
India: Star Sports 4, Star Sports 4 HD