There is something magical about Monaco. The most densely populated country on the planet invites the Formula 1 circus to put on a showpiece event every year – a 78 lap blast around a location entirely unsuitable for hosting a grand prix.
Nelson Piquet Jr famously described the challenge as like riding a bicycle around your living room. Simply lapping the circuit at the limit of adhesion alone is enough of a trial – overtaking on Monaco’s impossibly narrow streets is the work of a moment of magic.
It may be a procession on Sunday. It may be a winner from pole position and a one-stop strategy. Regardless, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about F1’s blue ribbon event.
After a thrilling British Grand Prix which put the zip back into F1’s step, the sport heads to Budapest in Hungary in search of another classic race to match the equivalent event in 2014, which saw Daniel Ricciardo snatch victory from Fernando Alonso in the closing laps.
This weekend will, however, be difficult for fans, teams and drivers alike, following a challenging week for the sport after the sad passing of Jules Bianchi.
His friends and family will undoubtedly be in everyone’s thoughts for the duration of the weekend.
The British Grand Prix weekend is my favorite race weekend of the season – but then again, I am biased. Nonetheless, Silverstone is a magical venue, featuring some of the world’s most remarkable corners and having played host to many classic Grand Prix’s of yesteryear. When a British driver heads into the weekend with a chance of victory, as Lewis Hamilton does this weekend, the atmosphere reaches fever pitch, with the potential to spill into euphoria should he repeat the feat of 12 months ago and take the 25 points away from his home race. However, with Nico Rosberg entering the weekend on the back of three wins from the previous four races, including success last time out in Austria, Hamilton will surely face a stern test.
The hills come alive this weekend, with the sound of 20 F1 cars pounding around the small and mighty Red Bull Ring. Lewis Hamilton leads the championship, heading into an event that teammate Nico Rosberg prevailed at 12 months ago, and Nico Rosberg will hope to make it an Austrian double this time out. Meanwhile, at a circuit in which they starred last season, Williams’ Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will aim to build upon a promising weekend in Canada, which saw the latter make his first appearance at the podium club this campaign.
The F1 tour bus parks in Montreal this weekend, as the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve prepares to host the Canadian Grand Prix for the 32nd time. The track, encapsulated in the picturesque setting of a man-made island, has certainly delivered some spectacular action over the years, with its characteristics conducive of excellent racing – long straights, followed by slow corners and kerbs which reward bravery – it is a formula which almost invariably delivers.
Not just in the context of F1, but sport as a whole, the Monaco Grand Prix is a truly special event. The marquee race within the exclusive club of blue-ribbon venues. It is a huge challenge for drivers as they look to thread their cars in-between the famous barriers which punish the smallest of mistakes. With Nico Rosberg having won the previous two Monaco Grand Prix, he will bid to become only the fourth driver to win three consecutive races, following in the footsteps of Graham Hill, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. However, Lewis Hamilton will look to halt his teammate’s momentum and secure his fourth victory of the campaign, on the back of the confirmation of his contract extension.
It is that time of year again when the paddock reconvenes equipped with the grandeur of the motor-homes which mark the start of the European season. The Circuit de Catalunya plays host to the opening round of this all important phase of the campaign and it is Lewis Hamilton who will enter the weekend on the back of a sublime opening innings, which has seen him clinch three victories from a possible four so far in 2015. Clearly, the man to beat, but a rejuvenated Nico Rosberg will look to build upon what was a promising drive in Bahrain, while Ferrari will need to state their claim to title honors, if indeed they are to mount a sustained challenge to the Silver Arrows this season.