Imagine the world’s fastest cars roaring down Regent Street and heading around Piccadilly Circus. That would be the English equivalent of the madness that is the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix.
by Keithe Photography
Monaco is one of the original F1 tracks and remains the most exciting street circuit race weekend in motorsport. With many stars in town for the Cannes film festival just down the road the race is only part of the glamorous event.
As cars have got faster it has become harder and harder to overtake on the circuit. As ex-F1 driver Gerhard Berger commented before the race, ‘Who has the first corner is half way done.’ That’s a slight exaggeration, and this year it wasn’t to be proved true. Not through any fault of the driver on pole who made it to the first corner in the lead.
Lewis Hamilton was the victim of a strange pitting decision by his Mercedes team. When the safety car came out after a spectacular crash by the young rookie Max Verstappen, Mercedes brought Hamilton in from the lead for new tyres. They had though miscalculated his advantage over his rivals and when he returned to the track he was in third position.
Ouch. That’s called throwing the lead away. Mercedes could relax slightly as their other driver Nico Rosberg won the race, giving him a hat-trick of Monaco wins. But they lost a 1-2 finish and demonstrated what happens when you rely too closely on data and simulations instead of what is actually happening in front of you on the track.
Hamilton had a race to forget. But Monaco retains the charm of its narrow track painted with every-day road markings and traffic signs to Nice and Menton. Blue skies, the Mediterranean and extremely fast racing cars jostling around a town centre. It’s a unique experience.