Will Mercedes continue their brilliant start through the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend? They’ve been relentless so far this term, with the fight for the title seemingly between Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas. There’s little between them at the top, but who will win here?
There seems so be an expectation on Mercedes to win their sixth race of the season this weekend, but will this be where the challenge finally arrives? They’ve historically had problems at the showpiece race in the F1 calendar, so there will be some looking to go against the top two, which is what we are doing. Mercedes are third on the overall list of Monaco team winners and without a win at the last two Grands Prix there, and we think they may struggle once again.
For many fans the Monaco Grand Prix is the standout event of the F1 calendar, with plenty of stars lining up for this weekend’s race. It’s known for being a tight city circuit, which isn’t something Mercedes have been built for in recent years. They tend to be seen as the outsiders for this race, so it will be interesting to see how they get on with expectation behind them.
|6/21||Monaco||Circuit de Monaco||260km / 78 Laps|
|Date||Start Time||Finish Time||Forecast Conditions||TV Coverage|
|Practice 1||Fri 24th May||10:00||11:30||Dry / 17°||–|
|Practice 2||Fri 24th May||14:00||15:30||Dry / 17°||–|
|Practice 3||Sat 25th May||11:00||12:30||Dry / 17°||–|
|Qualifying||Sat 25th May||14:00||15:00||Wet / 18°||Sky F1|
|Race||Sun 26th May||14:10||16:10||Dry / 21°||Sky F1|
Last Season’s Result (2018)
Last year’s race in Monaco was a victory for Red Bull, with Daniel Ricciardo taking the points. He was able to see off both Vettel and Hamilton – who were then the two in the title frame. That impressive win showed the talents of Ricciardo in a difficult season for him, so he’ll be looking to build on that after a tough 2019.
However, it’s also worth remembering the achievements of Max Verstappen in Monaco. Problems during qualifying saw him start this race at the very back of the grid. He fought his way into the top 10, which isn’t easy on the bends of Monaco. The top six qualifiers finished in the exact same positions in the final race, which shows how well Verstappen did climbing the standings in 2018.
|1||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bulls||1||25|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India||6||8|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||10||6|
|9||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||20||2|
Race News: Tributes to Lauda Likely
There are sure to be many tributes paid to the remarkable driving, courage and personality of Niki Lauda who of course died this week. In some ways whatever happens on the track will be overshadowed by his death. Many drivers have already spoken kindly of the Austrian Formula One driver, who won the F1 World Drivers’ Championship three times. Lauda, who triumphed in 1975, 1977 and 1984, may be a little old to have directly inspired many of the current crop of drivers but there is no doubt they have felt his influence and he will be missed by all in the F1 community.
Analysis: Will Mercedes Finally be Challenged?
Ironically, we could see a challenge to Mercedes just as they become favourites in Monaco. This race has never really suited their car, with the street turns opening it up for the likes of Red Bull. It perfectly suited Ricciardo last year, so that could well make this race more interesting. Given Mercedes’ six straight wins to kick off the 2019 campaign, we do need something to level up the playing field.
While Ferrari will be out to get back in the mix, we expect Red Bull to make the big challenge here. That’s after Verstappen’s unfortunate 2018 race here, which saw the Dutchman pull off an impressive fightback to get his top 10 finish. Given the performance, he should expect to challenge this week.
Final Verdict: Verstappen To Win
Verstappen is enjoying a strong season so far. He’s emerging as the real challenger to Mercedes, having pulled off another third place finish in Barcelona last time out. While he’s some way off the top two, he could pull back that gap by claiming a win here. He’s been consistently in the mix for the podium, but will he step up this weekend?
The race in Monaco seems built for Red Bull to make a challenge, while Verstappen is their key man. The Dutchman has a point to prove after last year, while he’ll also be itching to climb the standings after his tough year so far. We see Verstappen getting over the line here after impressing of late, so we think the Red Bull man is well priced to win this famous race. We’re backing Verstappen to win at 7/2 here, while he’s priced up at 1/2 to finish in the top three. Charles Leclerc is another one to watch ahead of his hometown race, he’s 7/4 to claim a spot on the podium in the Monaco Grand Prix.
About the Monaco Grand Prix
The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most iconic sporting events in the world, let alone F1. The meeting personifies the glitz and glamour that Formula 1 is often famed for, with the rich and famous coming out in droves to be a part of the action.
The track is one of few street races that is currently run and it’s the oldest street race in the calendar, as well. What’s unique is that it’s run throughout the streets of the second smallest country in the world. The run down through the harbour allows billions of pounds worth of yachts, full of spectators to overlook proceedings.
Located in the French Riviera, close to the Italian border, the race has been a regular fixture of the World Championship since 1955. But, in that time, the circuit has changed remarkably little. It’s the shortest and the slowest lap of the year, with cars operating on maximum downforce and brakes working about as hard as they will all season.
Overtaking is tough, with just 1 DRS Zone in the entire race, so qualifying in Monaco is more critical than any other grand prix. The famous harbour is home to the rich and famous over race weekend, with iconic and memorable views everywhere you look.
The cars come across the start finish line and the drivers are trying to position themselves to get as straight a breaking zone as possible coming into turn 1 to allow maximum downforce and shorter breaking zone. The cars have a slightly rise up after the apex and then enjoy a high-speed roller coaster ride as they climb up the hill, absolutely flat out in the process.
This section is very narrow, and you often see the cars kissing the barriers as they complete their ascent. The next turn is a very tricky, long left hander that goes into casino square. Traction is key here and the more speed they can carry, the more grip they will be able to achieve.
They then start to work their way back down the hill and pull slightly to the right to avoid what is actually a tree root situated under the track. The Fairmont hairpin is one of the most iconic places on the track as it’s often one that car spotters gather when race weekends aren’t taking place to catch a glimpse of an array of supercars. The corner is the slowest on the racetrack, with maximum lock required from the drivers.
The drivers then need to negotiate the famous right handed, where Senna ended up in the barrier whilst leading a race by over 30 seconds. They then head into the darkens of the tunnel, with the light change proving to be a big issue and often drivers are running on memory here until their eyes are able to adapt to the light.
They pass by the impressive yacht club on the left, before spotting their breaking zone and into the first of the chicanes and one of the few overtaking opportunities during the Grand Prix. It’s now into one of the best sequences on this racetrack.
Cars reach speeds of veer 250kmph per hour through the high-speed chicane, which requires a brave outlook with the change of direction included, as well. The next chicane is much slower as drivers start to get towards the end of the lap.
Cars then slow down as they approach Rascasse corner where the cars will have a shallow exit and short run into the final turn, known as the Antony Noghes corner, named after the organiser of the first Monaco Grand Prix. Drivers then sprint for the finish line as they work their way back up the hill.
The first Grand Prix that was held in Monaco was back in 1929. It was Prince Louis II that was the driving force behind the race, but it was Antony Noghes that was the race organiser. The race was then held from 1929 through to 1937, before featuring just 3 times before 1955 – mainly down to the war.
Since then, it’s been one of the stalwarts of the drivers’ championship. The track has come under criticisms of late however, with many stating that the lack of overtaking sections makes for a pretty boring race. But, purists will argue that F1 is as much about strategy as it is overtaking, which has a huge role to play in this race.
1960’S – THE KING OF MONACO
Graham Hill was the dominant force throughout the sixties at Monaco and his 5 race wins crowned him the nickname as the “King of Monaco”. Hill was able to win his first race in 1963 and from there had been able to dominate several races since then. He is still regarded today as one of the best drivers that the track has seen and only Ayrton Senna has managed to top his 5 wins, with 6 in total.
1984 TO 1993 – SENNA & PROST DOMINATE
Only two drivers won the Monaco Grand Prix between 1984 and 1993, in the form of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. The pair were at the peak of their powers and whilst Senna came out on top of the battle 6 times, it was often Prost who was pushing him hard to create a piece of history and widely be regarded as two of the best drivers of all time.
2006 – QUALIFYING
Whilst qualifying isn’t usually as interesting as the race itself, around Monaco, as mentioned previously, it holds as high regard as any of the tracks in the world. This was highlighted in 2006, when Michael Schumacher, after being provisionally in pole position with qualifying drawing to a close, parked his car on the track, blocking opposition and forcing them to drive around and essentially lose all time on their final flying lap.
Schumacher claimed that he had to stop due to car failure, but the FIA disagreed and eventually he was to start the race from the back of the grid. He eventually finished in 5th position, with Spaniard, Fernando Alonso, picking up the win and extending his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship, before going on to win by just 13 points over Schumacher in what was determined to be a pivotal point in the season.