Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Yu Xin Wang
No Heroics into Sainte Devote please.
One week after we were supposed to be racing around the iconic circuit of Imola which was cancelled due to heavy flooding, we return once again to the most iconic racing circuit in Formula One history, the Monaco Grand Prix.
19 corners, with many low speed sections flowing into complex chicanes and then onto short, flat-out “straights”. The Monaco GP circuit is perhaps the toughest and most demanding circuit in the world, simply because of how difficult it is to stay out of the barriers.
Almost every driver has, at some point in their career, had a crash at Monaco - understandably, because this is a very difficult circuit to keep within the walls.
The low speed sections after the climb up towards Turn 3’s Massenet will be particularly difficult, as will Casino Square (Turn 4), Portier (Turn 8) which is where Sergio Perez crashed in Q3 last year, and the Nouvelle Chicane (Turns 10 and 11) which is where Charles Leclerc was sent flying over the rear wing of Brendon Hartley back in 2018.
Of course, the high-speed swimming pool section will also be a majorly difficult sequence of corners. In recent years, it has been an area where the barriers seem to get the better of drivers.
Drivers to Watch
Bernd Maylander: Safety Car Driver
With the Monaco GP being so tough for the drivers on both physical and mental levels, it’s safe to assume that the Safety Car will be deployed on track more than once. Aside from 2021, there has been at least one Safety Car at every Monaco Grand Prix held since 2010. Therefore, we’d place our bets on the Safety Car making its seemingly annual appearance at Monaco.
If anybody is to make a video on YouTube about the evolution of the safety car in F1, then you might want to use Monaco as a track for reference, as it is both the most historic circuit and has a great track record when it comes to the Safety Car being deployed!
Max Verstappen: 2021 Monaco Grand Prix Winner
Verstappen is undoubtedly the best driver on the 2023 grid, and therefore we cannot exclude him from the list of Drivers to Watch.
Verstappen won the Monaco Grand Prix back in 2021, with the only major difference that year being that he was not able to jump into the awesome Red Bull pool, a place where Red Bull Racing have had many iconic celebrations. From Webber, to Vettel, to Verstappen and Perez - Monaco is a circuit that seems to favour Red Bull very much, which historically was down to their chassis.
This year, however, it actually seems like Red Bull have favoured straight line speed and engine performance, which may perhaps hinder them at a circuit like Monaco.
Fernando Alonso: Two-time Monaco Grand Prix Winner
Alonso’s last podium at Monaco was in 2012 when he was driving for Ferrari. Alonso seems to be on a hot streak of great results so far this season, with every race finish being inside the Top 4 and four podiums from five races so far in 2023.
Alonso is also in that great Aston Martin car, which seems to be excellent on acceleration and corner exit - something that is absolutely crucial for a circuit such as Monaco. Hence, it wouldn’t be completely out of reason to suggest that Alonso will likely be a challenger for the victory come Sunday, but it will still all be about the qualifying on Saturday.
Alonso’s qualifying so far this season has been nothing short of fantastic, with him qualifying in the Top 6 at every race in 2023. Two of them were front-row starts in Saudi Arabia and Miami - which are street circuits much like Monaco.
Sergio Perez: Street Circuit Master and 2022 Monaco Grand Prix Winner
Perez has earned the nickname “King of the Streets” over the last few years, with multiple victories at Azerbaijan, a victory at the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix, Singapore Grand Prix, and Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. The common denominator is that they are all street circuits. It goes back further as well, because Perez also has had many podiums on street circuits too.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that Sergio Perez is arguably the biggest driver to watch out for in the Monaco GP, as he has got quite the impressive track record. All eyes will also be on “Checo” to see if he can replicate his win from last year, which came under some controversy due to a crash in Qualifying 3.
However, with victories in 2023 at Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, most people will be looking out for Perez to close the gap even more to Verstappen, which is currently just a 14-point deficit in the Standings.
Aside from those drivers, some more things to look out for will be some potential rain, which is forecast for the weekend. Celebrities will likely also be in attendance, so be sure to keep your eyes glued to the screen for Martin Brundle’s brilliant grid walk before the race, which may either have some great celebrity guests, or perhaps some more cringeworthy ones like in Miami.
Well, with the most famous race in Formula One about to take place, let us know who you think can take victory at the most prestigious track in the world!
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