Formula 1 | Monaco Grand Prix 2017 Preview
By James Malleson
- Monaco hosts the sixth race of the season
- Hamilton looking for his third win of 2017
MONTE CARLO, MONACO – The sixth race of the season occurs in Monaco where Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel look to continue their battle.
Lewis Hamilton’s Past Record
Monaco with its stunning night life and a place where gambling is a prominent feature, Lewis Hamilton knows too well and has certainly gambled a few overtakes on this street circuit. He has won two times already, and you would not bet against him to win again. In fact, he has been on the podium five times in total and taking into account only current drivers, Hamilton has only been beaten by Nico Rosberg when it comes to the total number of wins in Monaco.
His first win came in 2008 where rainy conditions caused problems for all drivers. Hamilton made contact with the barriers on lap six forcing him to return to the pits to obtain a fresh set of tyres. The Brit then emerged in fifth place. After a safety car appearance and some jostling of positions between the front runners, Hamilton eventually scrambled his way to first place. He then extended his lead on Felipe Massa. Another safety car was deployed on lap 62 but this had no effect on Hamilton’s position, as he crossed the finish line as the winner to claim his first Monaco win.
Last year, Hamilton claimed his second Monaco Grand Prix title. This time Hamilton started the race from pole position. After the deployment of a safety car, the Brit emerged as a front runner. Hamilton was not a lone at the front as Daniel Ricciardo was chasing hard from behind. However, Hamilton successfully defended his position to cross the line as the winner.
So if gambling’s your thing, the odds look stacked in Hamilton’s favour to win for the third time.
How Does Sebastian Vettel’s History Compare?
Sebastian Vettel has only one Monaco title to his name but this is coupled with four podium finishes. His only win came in 2011 whilst racing for Red Bull Racing. After starting in pole position, Vettel led ahead of Jenson Button and by the end of the first lap was 2.4 seconds ahead. However, it was not all plain sailing as a safety car was deployed. What ensued was a close battle between Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Button. Yet Vettel came out victorious, as he defended his winning position.
Last year Vettel finished in fourth place and did not fare as well. The German was in fifth place by lap 28. But by lap 37 Vettel had moved into fourth position behind Hamilton, Ricciardo and Sergio Perez. However, that is where he stayed as he crossed the finish line, missing out on a place on the podium.
Expect him to improve on last year as the battle for the title should be closely fought between himself and Hamilton.
Monaco: a Small Affair
Monaco, a country covering 1.95 square kilometres is the world’s second smallest independent state, so room is at a premium.
This is coupled with the shortest circuit on tour, covering a paltry 3,340 kilometres compared to its rivals. Due to the fact it is a small circuit, it means overtaking is at a premium. However, the best place corners to overtake are Turns 1 and 11 as this is where space is more available.
In addition, due to the track being so small, it means there is only one DRS zone. This means that only one place allows for drag reduction to be automated. The zone appears at the end of the lap between Turns 19 and 1. The size of the circuit and lack of overtaking places culminates to a situation where perhaps the fortune favours the brave.
Pole Position is the Key to Success
It is certainly favourable to start the race in pole position, as the stats are there to back it up. In the past 13 races, only 3 drivers have failed to win after starting from pole position. Another reason why pole position is so highly valued is that the track is very congested. If you start from pole and you get a good start, then you can remain ahead and defend your position becomes much easier due to the lack of overtaking options available.
If you do want to overtake, drivers will be looking at the straight between Turns 1 and 3. In addition, there is the DRS zone and a decent length of track to overtake between Turns 8 and 10.
So who will come out in pole position and seize an advantage?
Facts for Thought
- The fastest lap recorded was 1:17.939 and was achieved by Hamilton in 2016.
- The first Monaco Grand Prix occurred in 1950.
- Ayrton Senna has recorded the most number of wins with a total of six to his name, including an unbeaten run of 5 in a row.
- The course has the record for the slowest and tightest corner. Turn 6 requires a speed of 50km/h and requires maximum steering lock to make it round the hairpin bend.
The race starts on Sunday 28th May 2017 at 13:00 BST.
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