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Circuit de Monaco

Formula 1 circuit

Circuit de Monaco
Credit: Mercedes
Vital statistics for Circuit de Monaco
CircuitCircuit de Monaco
LocationMonte Carlo
Race debut1950
Results for the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix
Pole positionKimi Räikkönen
Race winnerSebastian Vettel
Fastest lapSergio Pérez

The Monaco Grand Prix remains popular, despite the fact the circuit is not built to provide entertaining racing action. The iconic and tight twists and turns do not provide overtaking opportunities, and there's barely a straight for the drivers to take a breath. The action comes from the concentration required for drivers to avoid the close walls and barriers over the two hours or so it takes to complete a race.

F1 history

The Monaco Grand Prix continues to be a highlight on the Formula One calendar despite the fact the actual racing that occurs around the principality leaves a lot to be desired. The narrow streets, imposing buildings, and lack of overtaking spots can leave the action being processional, but it’s really the weekend as a whole that gets fans and F1 employees excited. Throughout the history of the race, a stop on the F1 calendar since the championship began in 1950, through many of the evolutions that have taken place, it has always looked as though racing in Monaco shouldn’t be possible.

The event is a race of precision and endurance, with drivers forced to up their concentration levels to avoid the barriers and deal with the quickly arriving corners. Each lap is an intense fight for the driver, no time to take a breather, and some unique challenges along the way - the hairpin, the tunnel and the Swimming Pool chicane.

The lap is short, and begins with the run to Sainte Devote, an exceptionally tight right hander that leads to the uphill climb that ends in the blind left hander at the top of Massenet. The walls close in through the second sector, the action slows down and winds towards the tunnel, one of the fastest parts of the circuit. Blinking into the sun upon the exit, drivers have to brake hard to navigate the Harbour chicane, run through the final set of corners and brake around Rascasse before heading back to the start/finish line.

With very little room for passing, and overtaking such a problem, getting a good qualifying position is crucial. Putting together a single fast lap around the track is an achievement in itself, and starting from pole raises the chances of getting the win. However, the race can be chaotic - changeable weather, high chance of crashes and safety car periods - getting to the end is the real goal. All drivers admit that winning the Monaco Grand Prix is one of their aims, and receiving the trophy from Prince Albert on the makeshift podium is the dream.

Learn more about Monaco with the Pocket F1 Handbook.