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Monaco Grand Prix 2014 Preview

Written by @OMGitsTarrynLee for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

Monaco Grand Prix | Sunday 25 May | Circuit de Monaco | 14:00

f1monacointroMonaco goes mental every year when the Formula One circus flies in and brings with it even more glamour and excess than the principality is used to. Yachts, fast cars and absurdly wealthy individuals clutter the harbour and streets as they all come to view the most prestigious racing event of the year, the Monaco Grand Prix. Often referred to as the “Crown Jewel” of the Formula One season, a win in Monaco is an accolade every driver aspires to. Expect fierce competition this weekend as the rest of the field desperately try to catch up to Mercedes on the streets of Monte Carlo and take the coveted checkered flag at the most famous Grand Prix.

Previous Race
f1monaco1The Spanish Grand Prix continued in the same vein as the previous races, with Mercedes dominating from start to finish. One of the most interesting battles of the Grand Prix was between the two Mercedes teammates, Hamilton’s lead over Rosberg decreased steadily as the Monaco native pushed his car to the limits to try and catch up to his teammate who suffered a poor start. Unfortunately, Rosberg ran out of laps and had to be satisfied with second place, in the race and the title fight. The Red Bulls came in behind the Mercedes team, with Ricciardo in third and Vettel fourth after clawing his way up the pack from fifteenth with an incredibly impressive drive that reminded viewers why he has so many championships under his belt. Bottas continued his impressive points run with a fifth place finish while Grosjean managed to get a few points for Lotus, who are far off their competitive pace of last year. The Ferraris also fought amongst themselves, with Alonso overtaking Kimi to finish a mediocre sixth in front of his home fans. Force India continue to look competitive and managed to get both drivers inside the top ten.

The Track
Arguably the most famous street circuit in racing, Circuit de Monaco is swiftly erected in the weeks before the Grand Prix weekend, undoubted causing frustration to the locals, who include quite a few present and past F1 drivers obviously drawn by the tax benefits. However the inconvenience of having a few roads closed is worth it, considering the spectacle F1 brings to the usually quiet streets. Tax benefits aren’t the only draw, the surroundings are the epitome of opulence, a harbour full of yachts, one of the grandest casinos in the world and a pretty impressive palace. The narrow track winds around some of the most famous sights of Monte Carlo and bumpy streets and tight corners make it the slowest track on the calendar. It is also one of the most demanding tracks, it is unforgiving of mistakes and the safety car is a common sight. A total of 78 laps past the harbour and through the unique tunnel provide less overtaking action than one would expect, the narrow nature of the track and the one DRS zone don’t provide many chances to pass. A good performance during qualifying is imperative as most races in Monaco are won from the front row. Pirelli brings their softest tyres this weekend, as the slower speeds balance out the bumpy track and degradation is not a major factor.

f1monaco2To Win Outright
Lewis Hamilton 6/10
Nico Rosberg 2/1
Sebastian Vettel 11/1
Daniel Ricciardo 14/1
Fernando Alonso 20/1
Kimi Raikkonen 80/1
Valtteri Bottas 100/1
Felipe Massa 125/1
Jenson Button 150/1
Nico Hulkenberg 200/1
Sergio Perez 200/1

Lewis Hamilton (6/10 a win) 
Hamilton is looking to claim his fifth consecutive win this weekend, while adding another victory at Monaco to his growing collection. The British World Champion and the Mercedes team seem to be racing in a league of their own this season. An obvious choice for the win considering his performance this season, Hamilton will face stiff competition from his own teammate Rosberg, who was the victor in Monaco last year as well as from other drivers eager to knock Mercedes off their pedestal. At 6/10 it might be worth looking elsewhere if you’re interested in making some decent money, but this should be a banker.

Daniel Ricciardo (14/1 a win, 12/10 a podium)
His teammate is a quadruple World Champion but in his first season with the Red Bull team, Ricciardo has given Vettel a run for his money. Unexpectedly, the Aussie often beats his teammate to the finish line and has pulled off a couple of stellar overtakes on the German. He seems to have really taken to the car and his overall performance has exceeded expectations. Coming off a top three finish in Spain, Ricciardo’s motivation for a repeat visit to the podium and another chance to spray some champagne will be high. 12/10 looks good.

Valtteri Bottas (Top Six Finish, 1/1)
Bottas is definitely a driver to keep an eye on. His consistent points finishes that often see him end up ahead of his more experienced teammate prove that this young driver is a worthy competitor in the cutthroat world of Formula One. His highest position so far is fifth but a podium is well within the Finnish driver’s reach. Although it may be a while before he manages to win a race, a Top 6 finish seems probable and bet on a podium could possibly payout if he continues to improve.

f1monaco3POLE POSITION / WIN: Sebastian Vettel (16/1 Pole, 11/1 a win)
With the streets of Monaco providing little opportunity for overtaking, more often than not the pole sitter goes on to win the race. Vettel is usually a decent contender during qualifying and has a penchant for pulling out a surprisingly quick lap when he needs to. Hamilton may have dominated the past few races but Vettel had a spectacular drive in Spain and I think it’s time the World Champion challenged for some real points. At 16/1 and 11/1 there is real money to be made on Vettel, who is familiar with the podium in Monaco, having finished second last year and first in 2011. Hamilton offers very little profit considering his cemented favourite status and let’s be honest, his streak of wins has to come to an end eventually. So instead of the obvious choice of one of the Mercedes drivers, take a risk on Sebastian Vettel this weekend, cross your fingers and hope the German is back on form.

Think we’ve got it wrong? Well leave your comments below and tell us how you think this one is going to play out.

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