The winding streets of Monaco are preparing to host their 75th Grand Prix this weekend, and what a track it is.
The picturesque circuit, stretching over 3.337 kilometres and consisting of 19 mostly low-speed corners and a flat-out tunnel, is Formula 1’s contribution to the infamous Triple Crown of Motorsport, and has featured some of the sport’s most notorious victors.
None more so than the man who holds the most wins around the circuit, the great Ayrton Senna.
The Brazilian claimed six victories in Monaco during his decade-long career, and potentially could have secured a seventh if it were not for Le Mans royalty Jacky Ickx, who red-flagged the rain-sodden 1984 race without consulting fellow track stewards, allowing Senna’s arch-rival Alain Prost to pick up a half-points win on lap 27.
Senna’s half-dozen Monte Carlo victories went some way to secure McLaren’s dominance over the iconic track.
The Honda-powered team currently leads the way in terms of constructors wins with fifteen, six ahead of nearest chasers Ferrari, however it is highly unlikely McLaren will extend that number this weekend even though the circuit will not punish their lack of power as much as others on this year’s race calendar.
It will in fact most likely be the Driver’s Championship contenders Sebastian Vettel and two-time winner Lewis Hamilton, who currently holds the record for the fastest ever lap set around the track—a 1:17.939s achieved last year—that will be contesting for number one spot come the end of the 78-lap race.
Red Bull can possibly expect to mount a challenge if their set-up, which has hindered them on several occasions so far this year, is correct—with maximum emphasis on downforce this weekend due to low tyre wear.
As potentially should have been witnessed during the Spanish Grand Prix a fortnight ago, Monaco will see the return of the red and purple-striped Pirelli P Zero—an appearance that will please drivers following their frustration with the manufacturer after the conservative decision in Barcelona to run soft and medium compounds.
No matter what it will surely be another thrilling instalment of the Monaco Grand Prix, which will celebrate hosting the race for three quarters of a century on Sunday.
With just four points between both Vettel and Hamilton at the top of the driver’s standings, it is sure to provide another twist in the tale for the 2017 World Championship.
By Joe Owens, F1 Correspondent