Our guide to the Monaco GP
THE MAIN EVENT
Monaco is still the most iconic race on the calendar. It has everything: sun, sea, style and suspense. And this year there is even greater intrigue. With the increase in aero and speed, the streets of Monte Carlo will be more of a challenge than usual. It’s perhaps ironic that the circuit with the lowest lap speed of the year feels the fastest for the drivers.
A bumpy, dirty track surface puts an engineering emphasis on car setup, while from a driving perspective, there is zero margin for error. Drivers’ confidence builds once they start to get into a rhythm as the grip levels rise over the course of the weekend, but that confidence drains away the instant they make contact with one of the Principality’s unyielding barriers. It’s apt that Monte Carlo has a worldfamous casino, since this grand prix can truly be a lottery – especially if it rains.
CLASSIC RACE: 2011
There have been many brilliant races held here – and on p106 of this issue you can read all about the 1961 event. But in recent history, the 2011 grand prix really stands out. Sebastian Vettel won from pole, but throughout the race was closely pursued by Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Vettel pitted early and his tyres were shot from mid-distance. It was a thrilling GP that was dramatically interrupted by a late-race red flag when Vitaly Petrov crashed at the Swimming Pool.