Formula 1 is all set to return to the famous streets of Monaco for the sport’s most legendary Grand Prix this weekend. The Monaco Grand Prix was cancelled outright last year due to Covid-19 pandemic and Sunday’s race will be the first street race since 2019. However, it is back this year with a daily crowd limited to 7,500 and the grandstand occupancy of 40 percent.
Among several highlights, here are five things to look forward ahead of the weekend racing extravaganza:
Monaco: The Principality remains one of the most iconic racing venues in the world and the drivers would be desperate to experience the thrill of racing their state-of-the-art F1 cars around the streets of Monte Carlo once again, after four races at circuits in 2020. The track has always been a challenging test for teams trying to qualify, especially drivers navigating its sharp street turns. The blockbuster among races is also a spectacle that is equally known for its glitz and glamour associated with F1 to the next level.
Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen rivalry: The two champions have gone wheel-to-wheel in all four races this season, with six overtakes between the two cars. Although Hamilton’s back-to-back wins in Portugal and Spain gives him a 14-point gap over his Dutch counterpart. Whereas, Verstappen has only one (at Imola). But Monaco will be a different ball game, where it will all come down to qualifying and the first corner. However, the duo will be put to the test on the weekend and whoever overtakes around the tight streets will have done a lot of work.
Sergio Perez: The Mexican will be tested to his core and he needs to show his real potential at Monaco with Red Bull. After struggling at both venues of Portugal and Spain the 31-year-old wasn’t even in the fight alongside the likes of Hamilton, Verstappen and Valtteri. After results in Spain Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said they “desperately need" Perez to be in top form and help with their strategic options. Meanwhile, Perez is happy to add to the pressure, saying that his car is capable of challenging for the win in Monaco.
Ferrari and Alpine: Driver woes aside, two teams are also looking for a big opportunity and results at Monaco. While Scuderia Ferrari have a lot of work to do for their qualifying pace after regularly locking out the first position behind Mercedes and Red Bull. However, Charles Leclerc’s fourth finish in Barcelona might be an encouraging sign for the team. Also given the number of medium and low speed corners in Monaco, Ferrari would be particularly competitive there.
Meanwhile, Alpine Racing had contrasting results in two subsequent races where they looked really quick in one lap but struggled to maintain form across a race distance. However, that shouldn’t pose much of a problem in the principality, as getting a good grid position is key.
McLaren and Williams: Ahead of the upcoming race two iconic teams, McLaren and Williams have something special for their fans to look out for. McLaren will be unveiling a classic livery that hasn’t been seen in F1 but has been used in their sportscar history. The team will sport distinctive Gulf colours for the weekend race and the car Comes with an awesome looking design. Additionally, there will also be new overalls, special driver helmets and bespoke team kit among others.
Williams on the other hand will be celebrating a milestone in their racing history. The Monaco GP will be the team’s 750th Grand Prix! Thus, becoming only the third team after Ferrari and McLaren to reach the milestone.
As an immersive initiative the team has invited its fans to find out their race number by using a special calculator on their official website. Fans can find out how many races they have been a Williams fan and will carry the names of 100 lucky winners on the halo of the FW43B (this year’s F1 car) this weekend.