Monaco Grand Prix 2021
This weekend sees the biggest race in Formula 1 with the return of the Monaco Grand Prix. Known at the ‘crown jewel’ of the formula 1 calendar, the hype and excitement of this iconic street led track is greater than ever with drivers united in their anticipation to get on track and challenge themselves on the worlds most famous street circuit after the event was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Monaco Circuit stats
First Grand prix – 1950 as part of the F1 world championship
Number of laps – 78
Circuit length – 3.337km
Race Distance – 260.286km
Lap Record – 1.14.260 by Max Verstappen in 2018
So who will win the jewel in the crown of the formula one calendar?
When it comes to the Monaco Grand Prix anything can happen. With three different winners the last three Monaco Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton 2019, Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull in 2018, and Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari in 2017, Monaco can always spring a surprise. As the midfield continues to converge on Red Bull and Mercedes, the race for the podium is less clear cut that most imagine even if Bottas, Verstappen and Hamilton have shared the podium more than any other trio in F1 history.
This year, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen take their title fight to the streets as they battle for dominance with Hamilton going for his 101st pole position and 99th win this weekend to make it his fourth win around the famous circuit, while Verstappen has yet to take the chequered flag in the Principality. However, is a big surprise about to happen? Home hero Charles Leclec has never made it to Q3 in his home race before but took the P1 spot with Hamilton taking third in Thursdays practice race. 2019 saw Leclerc start the race in P15 and failed to complete the race at 16 laps but leading in practice 2, does this year set to be a different story? It seems Ferrari are really making their mark at Monaco this year, looking really strong with Lewis Hamilton commending how much they had improved and was excited by the prospect of greater competition stating ‘We’ve got some work to do’.
Mercedes may be the leading championship going in to Monaco and have won four of the last five grand Prix at this circuit, although three of those came from Nico Rosberg, but the Principality throws up surprises every year and it seems that this year Ferrari are one of those surprises.
The ultimate truth of Monaco is that it is a weekend where drivers being error free, not hitting traffic in qualifying, a well-timed safety car and not being hit by bad luck can often be just as important in the fight for wins as having a good car.
Past Monaco Grand Prix Winners
2019 – Lewis Hamilton
2018 – Daniel Ricciardo
2017 – Sebastian Vettel
2016 – Lewis Hamilton
2015 – Nico Rosberg
2014 – Nico Rosberg
2013 – Nico Rosberg
2012 – Mark Webber
2011 – Sebastian Vettel
2010 – Mark Webber
There is no doubt whoever wins in Monaco deserves it. Overtaking is certainly a challenge if not at times known to be impossible around what is by far the narrowest track on the calendar. Monaco is widely regarded as the most difficult race to win, with barriers in a drivers eyeline at every corner, ready to punish even the smallest of errors which is why in addition to mechanical grip, qualifying and strategy is key in having a chance on the podium.
Will Monaco be a wet one?
The weather this year is predicted to be significantly cooler than in 2019 and with an overall colder and stormier May than past years in Europe this will affect the principality as well as practice sessions 4-5 degrees cooler than in 2019 at only 15C. With this playing a part in less grip available on the track surface it is likely to prove a recipe for graining on the tyres. Whilst it is currently looking dry there is 20% chance of rain on Sunday. If it does indeed rain during the race, pole position may not be enough to win Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix 2021. Drivers and teams will require to time their strategy to perfection to ensure they are on the right choice of tyres at every given time during the race.
As we saw back in 2019, Lewis Hamilton claimed it was the hardest race of his career when he was left struggling with his tyres after fitting softer rubber at pit stops during an early safety care period and repeatedly complained that he was not going to make them last to the end, an error on the pits behalf but with his skill and strategy, managed to hold on for his third Monaco win.
This year Pirelli have announced that the softest tyres in their range will be used for the first Monaco Grand Prix since 2019.
In conclusion, the Monaco Grand Prix is guaranteed not to disappoint with its twists and turns of unpredictable outcomes. Will Hamilton and Verstappen renew their rivalries again this weekend? Will Ferrari come from behind blast Mercedes and Red Bull out the water? Who will you have your money on?