Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted May 14, 2010 19:01
2010 Monaco Grand Prix
The grand prix is run around the tight and twisty streets of Monte Carlo and sees the highest amount of TV viewership of the whole year, as people don't just tune in to watch the glamor but also to see the drivers wrestle their 700hp machines, just millimeters away from the barrier.
As street tracks go, it's not the most challenging (Macau in my view is the best). But because you do it in the fastest race cars in the world, it probably makes this the hardest thing a driver will ever do on four wheels.
My favorite analogy is when ex-F1 driver David Coultard compared it to racing around your living room in a mountain bike.
There are no real straights at Monaco and the gradient changes are extreme as it is a public road. This means that the car is always moving under your hands and you need 100% concentration every second of every lap for 2 hours.
No sport I have ever tried tests your mental strength as severely as racing at Monaco in a F1 car. The exhaustion at this track is so complete that at the end of the race, you feel as if your brain has melted away to pool into your toes.
It's a track where you need a car with as much down force as possible. Drag is not too big a problem, so expect that to bring the very-aero efficient Red Bulls back a bit closer to the rest of the competition.
You also need very good mechanic grip, which in the past is something McLaren has always been very good at.
Even though Red Bull say they have solved their slow speed corner problems from last year and will be competitive, I think Monaco represents the best chance for another team to stop Red Bulls run of pole positions this year (6 poles from 6 races).
Street tracks are completely opposite from fast flowing tracks like Barcelona. Because of the challenging nature of street tracks coupled with the fact that no one gets to test on them, means that drivers can make a bigger difference than usual.
So expect surprises where a driver performs superbly to bring their car up the grid to a sport they would not normally be.
Also expect a very good fight at the front between the big four teams. Historically, Alonso, Hamilton, Button and of course Schumacher do very well here.