Can Lewis Hamilton beat the rest and power to his third victory at the Circuit de Monaco? Or will he be caught by the chasing pack?
Formula 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO, from Thursday 24 May, 10am, Sky Sports F1®/HD (CH 516/506) and Channel 4/HD (CH 104/141)
What do you get if you put the world’s most talented racing drivers in the world’s fastest cars and ask them to race around the tight, undulating streets of the continent’s most glamorous tax haven? The answer is the the most exciting, prestigious, difficult and dangerous race of the Formula 1 season.
“Monaco is just incredible to drive and any driver will tell you that it is the race they want to win,” reveals Lewis Hamilton. The defending Formula One World Champion achieved this feat in 2008 and 2016, but will return this weekend looking to improve on a poor 2017 performance that saw him qualify in 14th and finish in 7th. “I was devastated to the point where I couldn’t get out of the car,” Hamilton admits, when asked about last year. “When you don’t get into the final part of qualifying, your weekend is pretty much done, as it’s very, very difficult to overtake here.”
While Hamilton struggled, title rival Sebastian Vettel made hay, qualifying in second and coming up with a clever race strategy to pip teammate Kimi Räikkönen to the chequered flag. “It was very tense, but it’s obviously great to get the points and the win,” smiled the German after becoming the first Ferrari driver to win in Monaco since Michael Schumacher in 2001.
After running out of gas towards the end of the 2017 season, Vettel has started this year well and will go into Monaco as one of the favourites to take the title. Hamilton will also be in contention, and look out for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, too. The 28-year-old lives in the principality, is showing some serious speed in 2018 and has qualified well at the last four Monaco races.
“Monaco is definitely my favourite track to drive,” says the Australian. “Once you’re in the car, it’s an amazing feeling. It is so tight and intimidating. From the outside, some of the sequences look impossible to go through at the speeds we do.”
To be honest, some of them are. Which is why Monaco sees its fair share of crashes, collisions and safety cars. “There is no such thing as a low-risk lap in Monaco,” admits Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who crashed out of the Grand Prix in 2015 and 2016.
Mix this high-octane excitement with the beautiful scenery of Monte Carlo, plus the rich and famous spectators, and you have a sporting spectacle unlike any other. Take a pit stop from your busy life and watch the drama unfold live on Sky Sports F1® and Channel 4 this weekend.
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