Ah, Monaco. The jewel in the crown of Formula One, a venue whose nostalgia and history has only been amplified thanks to more and more Tilke-dromes being introduced into the calendar. Whilst it still presents a challenge to drivers, teams and fans alike – it’s compact and hard to negotiate on race weekends – it’s a mainstay of the sport, and without it we’d feel a little but…empty.
While the talk is all about Pirelli still, and just how it will impact Sunday’s race. The streets of Monte Carlo won’t be as punishing on the tyres as any other track so far in 2013, so two stops will probably be achievable, which is exactly what the FIA and Pirelli need to stem the criticism.
Mercedes are also in the spotlight after their recent Jekyll and Hyde performances over the course of a weekend. If they can pull off their fourth straight pole position of 2013, they could be in with a real chance of taking victory. Qualifying is all important here – a front row start can lead to a strong result, as overtaking opportunities here are at a minimum. If the Silver Arrows are at the front and have terrible race pace, how will the others pass them?
Fernando Alonso’s victory last time out wasn’t just a celebration on home soil. It was a celebration that the title hunt is still on for the Italian backed Spaniard. Sebastian Vettel’s points lead was looking ominous, but that win, coupled with Kimi Raikkonen’s strong 2nd place, keep both well in the mix. It’s a three-way fight already in the season. Points will be key for all three this weekend, but is the danger to end up playing it too safe?
The other two ones-to-watch are complete wildcards, especially in the context on 2013. Mark Webber has won twice in the last three races here, including last season, so the form guide suggests neutrals would be smart to place a bet or two on the Aussie. But, he’s been off the pace since Multi-21-gate and even if he qualifies well his starts have been between “awful” and “disastrous” all season.
The other? Pastor Maldonado. His record, bar last season’s red misted clash with Sergio Perez in practice, is very good at the circuit. Would the tight twisty nature or Monaco eliminate some of the weaknesses in this season’s Williams?
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Badger’s Magic Moment
Robert Kubica puts his Renault on the front row in 2010. Check this out!