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Monaco Grand Prix: Five things from Monte Carlo

| 19.05.2021

One of the most exciting races in the world takes place on the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend and we’re taking a brief look at both the history of the Monaco Grand Prix and the glamour surrounding this iconic circuit.

Long regarded as the playground of the rich, Monaco is famed for its yachts and casinos, but Lewis Hamilton is more concerned with maintaining his lead at the top of the world championship standings.

The seven-time world champion, 14 points clear of main rival Max Verstappen, was the last driver to win in Monaco after last year’s race was cancelled because of the Covid pandemic and is 11/10 favourite to win here for a fourth time.

Little chance of a local winner

Of the current crop of F1 drivers only Ferrari star Charles Leclerc is a native of the principality.

The chances of a home victory at Monaco appear pretty slim unless other factors like bad weather or a spate of crashes leading to a safety car intervene to upset the usual order which has seen this season’s race victories shared between Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (three) and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen (one).

This season Leclerc has two fourth-place finishes – Emilia Romagna and Spain – and has twice finished sixth in Bahrain and last time out in Spain.

The Monaco connection is strong in F1 as Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard are among the past and present drivers who live or have lived in Monaco.

Hollywood comes to Monaco

The 1966 film Grand Prix featured Monaco and filming took place throughout the season with top drivers Lorenzo Bandini and Jackie Stewart featuring alongside the likes of James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Yves Montand, the latter also driving an F1 car during the film.

Stewart was the star of Roman Polanski’s 1971 film Weekend of a Champion during which a documentary followed the Scot from his hotel room to the winner’s circle as his Monaco race win helped him earn a second Formula One championship.

Other films to feature the Monaco Grand Prix include Iron Man 2 and Murder Mystery which saw a policeman (Adam Sandler) and his wife (Jennifer Aniston) caught up in crime in Monaco during the 76th staging of the race.

Watch the race by land or sea

Monaco is not only famous for the number of millionaires it attracts to the F1 race but the number of billionaires.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been known to moor his superyacht on the French Riviera during race weekend.

You could jockey for space with the oligarch’s 500million euro superyacht Solaris which boasts eight decks, a helicopter pad and 48 cabins but you would need around 1million euros just for a comparable rental for the weekend.

If you prefer to stay on dry land then you would have to splash out 40,000 euros per night for the Princess Grace Diamond Suite at the Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo and another 6,000 euros for an F1 Paddock Club pass which includes a seat at the famous La Rascasse corner.

Ayrton out on his own at the principality

Ayrton Senna stands alone in the Monaco record books with six victories which is made all the more impressive by the fact the Brazilian only competed there on 10 occasions.

After  picking up his first win in 1987 he won for five straight years from 1989 to 1993. Next on the list is Michael Schumacher who took five wins at Monaco in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001.

Lewis Hamilton has plenty of catching up to do if he is to get close to Schumacher let alone Senna having won in 2008, 2016 and 2019. Red Bull’s Verstappen has a best finish at Monaco of fourth in 2019.

Can Vettel recapture past glories?

The 2021 Formula One season has been nothing short of a disaster for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

The German has been languishing down the order at the Aston Martin team but Monaco offers the 33-year old an almost unique opportunity to return to the winner’s circle.

A winner there as recently as 2017 for Ferrari, Vettel knows what it takes to make the most of his opportunities which have been few and far between since he last won the world title in 2013.

But when you think Frenchman Olivier Panis won from 14th on the gird in 1996 as only three cars finished, a wet race could play into the hands of Vettel who is priced at 750/1 for victory.

A first win for McLaren’s Lando Norris can be backed at 50/1 and Ferrari’s local Charles Leclerc is priced at 22/1.

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Author

Warren Barner