F1 returns to Monte Carlo for the first time since 2019 – Danny Ric has a great record there, so could it potentially be a turning point for his season?
This week we see Formula One return to Monaco for the first time since 2019. The principality hosts the most glamorous round on the calendar, however COVID-19 restrictions may see a different vibe around the circuit this year.
This won’t stop people watching though as it’s known to be one of the most viewed races of the season – and it all kicks off tonight at 7:30pm AEST.
Out on track this weekend you won’t miss the cars of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, as the McLarens sport a Gulf-inspired historic livery. This is the first time it will appear on a McLaren F1 car, and both drivers have the helmets to match, with Lando’s featuring a traditional racing goggle design.
Speaking of McLaren they’ve ensured Lando stays put for the years to come, as he signed a new two-year deal this week with the team. Don’t forget, Formula Two also returns this weekend with our Aussie, Oscar Piastri, sitting fourth in the championship.
Finally, Williams celebrates 750th F1 Grand Prix, with its reserve driver Jack Aitken returning to F2.
Who do you think will be holding the trophy on Monday morning? (Which is of course presented in a bespoke Louis Vuitton trunk.)
Circuit de Monaco is an iconic street circuit laid out on the city streets of Monte Carlo. Monaco is also famous for large yachts which you often see in shot around the harbour of the principality of Monaco.
This weekend, Pirelli has brought its softest rubber for this tight, twisty and narrow circuit.
On Sunday we’ll see 78 laps completed around the 3.337km circuit – and it’s Max Verstappen who currently holds the lap record, with a 1:14.260.
|Free Practice 1||Thursday||19:30||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Free Practice 2||Thursday||23:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Free Practice 3||Saturday||20:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Qualifying||Saturday||23:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
|Race||Sunday||23:00||Fox Sports 506 / Kayo|
2021 teams and drivers
|Alfa Romeo||Kimi Räikkönen & Antonio Giovinazzi|
|Alpine (previously Renault)||Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon|
|AlphaTauri||Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda|
|Aston Martin (previously Racing Point)||Sebastian Vettel & Lance Stroll|
|Ferrari||Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz|
|Haas||Mick Schumacher & Nikita Mazepin|
|McLaren||Daniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris|
|Mercedes-AMG||Lewis Hamilton & Valtteri Bottas|
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen & Sergio Perez|
|Williams||George Russell & Nicholas Latifi|
Since 1950, Monaco has played host to a Formula One race on 65 occasions. It’s been a host since 1955, and since then there have been 34 different winners of the Monaco Grand Prix.
The driver with the most Monaco wins is Ayrton Senna, with six – one more than Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher.
Eight drivers have taken back-to-back wins at the Circuit de Monaco. Ayrton Senna managed five in a row.
The Monaco Grand Prix has been won from pole position 29 times since 1950, with the pole-sitter finishing on the podium without winning on nine further occasions.
The race has been won from the front row of the grid 44 times.
Lewis Hamilton heads into this round with a 14-point lead in the championship, after another win to his name at the Spanish Grand Prix.
He also won F1’s last appearance in Monaco in 2019 – with Vettel finishing second and Bottas in third – and scored pole position.
But let’s talk about the guy that has a great record here and won in 2018. Who can forget Danny Ric’s swan dive into the pool after his victory? He had his best result last time out in Spain, and if he manages a good qualifying session, you never know how the race could turn out.
All he needs is a bit of confidence across the weekend, a good qualifying position and then there’s no stopping him around this track. Lando Norris I think will go well here after a stellar job so far this season, plus the confidence boost associated with the recent contract signing.
Leclerc hasn’t had much luck at his home track so perhaps this could be his year to turn it around, as he’s shown some pretty good consistency so far this season.
But, again watch out for the Red Bulls. Max had an unfortunate penalty last year, and was otherwise set for a podium. Still, he has never been on the podium here, so has lots to play for.
It’d be great to see some underdogs come through and post some results like Pierre Gasly, who finished fifth in 2019. Even Vettel knows this track well, but is yet to bag any points so far this season.
In fact Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas all remain pointless in 2021 – let’s see what they can do at Monaco this weekend. Unfortunately, it looks as though tricky weather conditions won’t be a factor, with the forecast looking sunny and clear across the weekend.
Who will come out on top? Let us know your predictions for the weekend.
MORE: Everything Formula One
2021 Formula One Monaco Grand Prix: Race preview