After a two-year absence, the streets of Monaco will reverberate with the sound of Formula One engines this weekend as the calendar reaches the championship’s flagship event.
Teams love to court existing and potential sponsors in the glamorous principality, which first played host to a motor race in 1929.
The twisty streets, lined with metal barriers, make for an unforgiving circuit and a unique challenge for drivers, and the race is considered one of motor racing’s triple crown along with the Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours.
Hamilton On A Roll In Championship Chase
The first four races of the season have boiled down to a duel between seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull ace Max Verstappen. But having come out on top in three of those races, Hamilton arrives in Monaco with a 14-point lead in the championship.
All four events have followed a similar script. Verstappen has muscled his way past Hamilton in all four, but three times the Englishman has managed to get back ahead.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas came home a distant third in the three races he has completed, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has finished all four races in the top six. Meanwhile, McLaren have scored points with both cars in every race – the only team to have done so.
Red Bull’s Happy Monaco Memories
While Verstappen is in danger of losing touch in the championship fight, he can be encouraged by his Red Bull team’s record at Monaco.
The Dutchman finished a close second to Hamilton on the track in 2019, but was dropped to fourth after a penalty was applied.
The previous year, Daniel Ricciardo had won for the team, the Australian making up for two years earlier when a botched pitstop cost him certain victory.
Red Bull appear to have lost any advantage they may have had over Mercedes at the start of the season but they are at their strongest when using the softest tyre compounds, which will be the case at Monaco.
23/20, is narrowly preferred in the market to
7/4 Hamilton – it should be close again and strategy will be as important as ever. Mercedes have had the edge in that department, so Hamilton looks the better bet.
Consistent Gasly Can Shine
Pierre Gasly has made a solid start to the campaign and has decent Monaco form in the book.
The Frenchman finished seventh on his first F1 outing there in 2018 for Toro Rosso and was within 10 seconds of winner Hamilton when fifth in 2019.
The AlphaTauri driver was well inside the top 10 in both Thursday practices and could be value in the top-six finish market at
Russell Could Finally Make His Point
George Russell has earned the nickname Mr Saturday for some heroic qualifying performances but the young Brit is yet to score a point at the wheel of a Williams.
Passing is virtually impossible at Monaco, though, so if Russell is able to again impress in qualifying, he should find it easier to hold off quicker cars snapping at his heels and reward points-finish backers.
*All odds correct at time of writing