Amid pristine clear waters, salubrious yachts and the paraphernalia of opulence that can only be provided by an exquisite European destination, the Monaco Grand Prix is an experience like few others in the realm of motor racing.
Having witnessed some thrilling races this season, the Formula 1 entourage reaches the most glamorous and show-stopping destination of the roster, in the Principality of Monte Carlo. The race provides a great litmus test of pure driving skill, given the onerous challenge and lack of overtaking opportunities the track presents.
So, as race-day approaches, which five drivers need to up their game to exit Monaco with a good result?
Having failed to open his account even after five races, the 2018 season has unveiled the worst start in the Frenchman’s F1 career.
With three DNFs in five races including one at Baku where he lost control of his car under the safety car, and another at Spain, where his failure to control his car resulted in mayhem on the opening lap, can it get any worse for the Haas driver?
The mild-mannered driver will hope to secure points in the topsy-turvy lanes of Monte Carlo and break the jinx that’s hurt his season so far.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Among the more improved drivers this season, Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. looked in tremendous form at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where he earned a career-best fifth place finish. At his home race in Spain, the Spanish driver who began from ninth at the grid, avoided the opening lap fiasco to finish a respectable seventh.
He would love to build from here having already finished inside the top ten in the last three races. Last year, the Renault driver ended with a brilliant P6 here in Monaco. Can he produce a similar result this weekend?
At the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel, who lost the race to arch rival Lewis Hamilton, trailed the English driver by only four points. He would’ve thought he could reduce the gap and in fact, turn it into a lead once again at Catalunya. However, by the end of the Spanish Grand Prix, Vettel trailed race-winner Hamilton by 17 points.
Feeling the pressure, the German driver would love to bounce back. What better way than by beating Hamilton in Monaco? The four-time world champion might use his 2017 Monaco win as motivation as he looks to gain ground in the championship race.
Despite possessing natural talent in abundance, Nico Hulkenberg hasn’t yet achieved a podium finish in the pinnacle of motor-racing. But the 2018 season started well for the Renault driver, who collected three valuable top ten finishes in the first three races.
Since then, there have been back-to-back DNFs. First, in Baku, where he hit the wall in the closing stages, and then the crash in the opening lap at Spain (through no fault of his own). These results dulled an impressive start for Hulkenberg who collected a P7, P6 and P6 at Australia, Bahrain and China, respectively.
Can he deliver a special result at the Monaco Grand Prix?
In 2017, the Iceman secured his first pole at Monte Carlo since his return to the Scuderia stable in 2014. He looked all set to win his 21st race and his first since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, when an unscheduled pit stop for a change of tyre compound on lap 38 sacrificed his chance of victory.
Vettel gained control of the race following Raikkonen’s stop, and the Finn found it hard to breach the German’s defences to reclaim track position. While legions of Raikkonen fans were left disconsolate at the result, which at P2 was anything but listless, the man himself cut a grim and lowly figure on the podium.
Having just endured a mechanical DNF at Spain, Kimi will be fired up for Monaco and if he can pick himself up and avenge 2017’s lost chances, we may see something special from F1’s elderly statesman.
Who will shine in this year’s Monaco Grand Prix and why? Let us know in the comments below.
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