Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted May 24, 2012 17:49
I love the Monaco GP. It's not only the jewel in the F1 calendar's crown but it also represents one of the toughest challenges of the year for the teams and drivers.
Now, it's not the only street track on the calendar, and the races are not known for being exciting as it is difficult to overtake. But it does have a really nice blend of elevation changes with tight twisty corners, which give the drivers no chance to rest.
To watch the car's flick right and then left with lots of steering lock, jumping over the bumps and just missing the armco barriers by inches is what aggressive street driving is all about.
Monaco is also the track a driver can make a difference on, even with a car that is not so good and with the field being so close this year. Most of the drivers must feel they have a chance to do something special here.
The teams run maximum down-force as they try and extract as much grip from the cars as possible. Drag is not an issue as there really are no ‘straights’. Even the front and back straights have turns on them, which give the drivers no reprieve.
With five different winners this year, and fans are betting on there being a sixth winner in Monaco, and why not?
Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen have all won here before and will definitely be in the hunt. Hamilton has especially been good in qualifying this year, and in Monaco it’s all about grid position.
McLaren pitstops will be under scrutiny this weekend. They will be saying all the right things to the media about being positive and looking forward.
But there will be a huge sigh of relief if they can get through the weekend without any mistakes - and hopefully a win this Sunday.
Ferrari fans, can also look forward to this weekend’s race as the updates they brought for the last race, certainly seemed to have closed the gap to the front. Add in a bit of Alonso magic and I believe they will be in the fight for pole position and a race win.
We could also see a good strategic battle because last year we saw a great three way battle between Sebastian Vettel on a one-stop strategy, Alonso on a two-stopper and Button on a three-stopper all scraping for the lead.
It's the first time we will be using the super soft compound and we may see some of the teams trying a one-stopper if they can make that tire last.
But for my prediction, I'd like to go for a sixth different winner and I think that will be Hamilton.