With all the kitsch decor we’ve had to experience this year courtesy of the Miami Grand, we finally get something truly class; a Monaco race day – the crown jewel in the F1 calendar. Darry Worhington previews.
There are plenty of thrilling sub-plots to look forward to this weekend. The battle atop the Drivers’ Championship is as close as can be, with Verstappen leading Charles Leclerc by six points.
Perhaps the most fascinating of these is the supposed “Monaco Curse” that affects LeClerc. The Ferrari man hasn’t finished a race on the course dating back to his F2 days.
There’s also the the ever-improving Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. After a less than impressive start to the season, the Silver Arrows are becoming a force again after remedying the porpoising issues that have blighted their 2022 thus far.
To Win Race:
Charles Leclerc 21/20
Max Verstappen 13/10
Lewis Hamilton 16/1
Sergio Perez 16/1
George Russell 16/1
Carlos Sainz 16/1
After a scrappy start to the season, Max Verstappen is now dominating proceedings with last weekend’s win in Catalunya his fourth of the campaign. The Red Bull ace was very lucky on this occasion, however, as he and teammate Sergio Perez took full advantage of an engine failure of Charles LeClerc’s Ferrari to claim a one-two finish. They were joined on the podium by George Russel.
Carlos Sainz managed to salvage some pride and points for Ferrari as he claimed fourth spot. Lewis Hamilton dragged his car across the line in fifth; some nine seconds behind Sainz. The top 6 was rounded out by the Alfa Romeo of Valterri Bottas.
Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso made sure Alpine claimed some much needed Constructors’ points as the former finished seventh and the latter claimed ninth. Sandwiched between the two Alpines was the MacLaren of Lando Norris, while Tukhi Tsunoda claimed the final points scoring berth.
The tightest track on the circuit may not feature many overtaking scenarios but it does throw up some great racing and tests teams’ strategies to the max. The 19 turns are difficult to manoeuvre and drivers will have to have their wits about them.
So which of the 19 turns will provide drivers with an opportunity to get a jump on the man in front of them? Well, they could try the Fairmont Hotel hairpin, which is the tightest hairpin turn on the Formula 1 calendar, but that would more than likely end in retirement for them and their victim.
The easier options would be Saint Devote – the first turn on the track – or just after the tunnel into Nouvelle – it’s a tricky move to pull off and requires you to out-brake your opponent in the Nouvelle corner.
The weather for this weekend is not playing ball at this point with rain forecast for the qualifying sessions and race day.
In terms of last year’s race results, Max Verstappen took race honours with Carlos Sainz claiming second and Lando Norris rounding out the podium.
Lewis Hamilton – Podium – Yes @ 9/4
He knows the track well and if he has a bit of luck in qualifying then Hamilton could be a real threat. With an improved car, Lewis could sneak a podium finish here.
To Win Race
Max Verstappen @ 13/10
Max Verstappen broke his duck at this track last year. He had difficulties with the circuit in the past and crashed out a couple of times but he has matured as a driver and this more controlled approach is perfect for the grand old circuit.
One concern for the Dutchman and Red Bull will be that he has struggled in qualifying this year and the man who sits on pole usually delivers the goods at Monaco.