2018 Monaco Grand PrixView

By on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Juxtaposed with the glitz and glamour of Monaco is the gritty and grizzled layout of Circuit de Monaco, which has remained relatively unchanged since 1929 when Anthony Noghes, son of a wealthy cigarette baron, proposed a grand prix through the streets of Monte Carlo. That inaugural race on April 14 was won by William Grover-Williams in a Bugatti and it came on the same basic layout that challenge today’s Formula One drivers.

Challenge is the key word, for there is no more challenging venue than Monaco. The 78-lap race features many elevation changes and the tightest corners on the series’ 21-race calendar. It also lays claim to having the only tunnel in Formula One, which forces drivers to adjust their eyes from glaring sun to shade every lap.

Monaco is the shortest circuit in Formula One and home to the sport’s slowest corner – the hairpin turn six – which drivers navigate at a pedestrian 50 kph while in maximum steering lock. It’s why three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet said racing at Monaco was “like trying to cycle around your living room”. Monaco is the smallest and most densely populated country in the world, so it’s only appropriate that its racing circuit emulates the locale.

Facts and stats

This circuit has hosted Formula One since 1950, and 2018 marks the 76th running of the Monaco Grand Prix. Despite being the shortest track, Monaco is the longest Formula One race in terms of time and, if hampered by wet weather, it will certainly go to its full, two-hour limit. Monaco also lays claim to having the only tunnel in Formula One, which forces drivers to adjust their eyes from glaring sun to shade every lap.

Prior to 1969, there were no barriers around the Monaco street circuit. The circuit’s conditions were virtually identical to everyday, civilian use, sans the removal of people’s production cars parked on the sides of the streets. If a driver went off, he would crash into whatever was next to the track – buildings, lamp posts, windows, etc. In the cases of Alberto Ascari and Paul Hawkins, they ended up in the water. Because the concrete road the course used had no Armco barrier to protect the drivers from going off the track, each ended up in the harbor of the Mediterranean. In 1970 and 1971, Armco barrier in specific points was continually added, and by 1972, nearly the entire circuit was lined with Armco barrier.

Circuit length: 3.3 km

Turns: 19

Direction: clockwise

Race laps: 78

First Grand Prix: 1950

Race lap record: 1:14.820 (Sergio Perez, Force India, 2017)

2017 Qualifying: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2017 Race: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), 3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

Weather prediction: lows will range from 15-16 degrees Celsius to highs of 18-19 degrees Celsius.

Tyres: supersoft, ultrasoft, hypersoft - this is a brand-new tire for 2018 and it is the softest and, subsequently, fastest compound Pirelli has ever made. The hypersoft is suitable for all circuits that demand high levels of mechanical grip, but the trade-off for this extra speed and adhesion is a considerably shorter lifespan.

Timetable (GMT +2):

Friday 24 May

Practice One: 11:00 – 12:30

Practice Two: 15:00 – 16:30

Saturday 26 May

Practice Three: 12:00 – 13:00

Qualifying: 15:00

Sunday 27 May

Race: 15:10

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