The Monaco Grand Prix is the most recognisable race in all motor sport. The grand old race was first run in 1929 and was the second race on the calendar in the very first Formula 1 championship in 1950. It has long been considered the greatest challenge of the season, and no drivers’ career is complete without winning the Monaco Grand Prix.
Performances around this track have become stuff of legend. Ayrton Senna’s early results here in a Tyrell marked him out as a superstar in the making, McLaren’s 15 wins around Monaco speak to their expertise in designing cars. The list of winners is a who’s who of F1 champions. Senna took 6 wins, Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill claimed 5 wins and Alain Prost won the race 4 times.
In F1 2018 claiming a win around Monaco is an all-mighty achievement. The AI is spectacular around Monaco, and the use of any assists limit your overall pace. Meanwhile, it is all too easy to overcook your tyres and get bottled up in traffic due to the complete lack of overtaking places, but if you are brave you can squeeze in a pass around Monaco.
The Nouvelle Chicane is the best place for an overtake, but it is no easy thing. A good drive out of turn 8 is vital so you can sweep through the tunnel and get a slipstream. Then it is a case of out-braking them and taking the inside line. With runoff room ahead of you it isn’t a race-ender if you can’t stop, but the corner is tight and clipping the inside barrier will take a wheel off.
The other overtaking point around Monaco is into turn 1. The pit straight holds the only DRS zone of the lap, giving you a boost up to the gearbox of your opponent. However, the entrance to turn 1 is extremely narrow. The left-hand wall curves in at the last minute, making any move around the outside impossible, and the exit of the pit lane has pushed the kerb out and narrowed the braking zone even more. As a result, you have to truly thread the needle if you want to get past here.
As far as overtaking chances go, that’s really it. You can make a dive up the inside of turn 5 on lap 1, and turn 18 if you are on fresh tyres against an inferior car, but otherwise you’ll have to wait for a mistake.
As for the rest of the lap, Monaco is a perilous maze of tight barriers that you have to fly between if you want to set a good time. Let’s look at the trickier parts of this circuit.
Turn 5 starts one of the tightest sections of any track in F1 2018. The slow right-hander leads down to the horrific left-hand hairpin and out into two single-line rights. Even full steering lock doesn’t guarantee you safe passage through this run down to the sea. You have to have the perfect line or else you’ll be leaving your front wing behind.
The run through Tabac and the Swimming Pool is a rollercoaster of barriers, kerbs, and potentially flying carbon fibre. If you get it right, there is no sweeter feeling in F1 2018, but more often than not you’ll get it wrong and either pick up a corner cutting warning, lose significant time, or end your race. This is the ultimate test of nerve, setup, and control.
Monaco requires a hyper-specific setup. This is a high-downforce track that demands a responsive, predictable, suspension setup but is also extremely tough on your tyres. It’s nearly impossible to navigate cleanly on a pad too, so be ready for a frustrating afternoon if you are trying to play it casually. You can find our setup for Monaco here, but remember that your own driving style, as well as the level of assists you use, may mean a few changes are required to maximise your pace.
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