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Our guide to the Monaco GP


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.


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.

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