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Monaco Grand Prix: Glitz and Glamour returns after a two-year hiatus

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Monaco Grand Prix: Glitz and Glamour returns after a two-year hiatus 

Monaco, the jewel on the Formula One calendar. Drivers, teams and supporters love this track for the glitz and glamour. The prestige and history is obvious at every corner. In fact, it is a circuit from a different era that makes overtaking difficult and is likened to riding your bicycle around your living room. Thus, the perfect place for an action-packed weekend – surely? The World Championship has been interesting so far. It had the potential to be riveting after Verstappen’s win in Imola at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but the situation has plateaued since.

 

Magnificent Mercedes demonstrate their efficiency 

The German manufacturer has been criticized in the hybrid era for making Formula One boring. From a pure entertainment perspective, these statements have value. However, the focus should be centred around the failures of their rivals to respond to the consistent improvement driven by Toto Wolff.

Ferrari showed signs of matching the Brackley based team from 2017 to 2019.

Nonetheless, the 7-time World Champions kept finding ways to squeeze tenths out of their car. Ferrari held the advantage going into the summer break in 2017 and 2018 but Wolff’s chargers found a way to better the Italians.

These standards have been maintained supremely in 2021. Red Bull Racing had a promising performance during the pre-season testing at Bahrain International Circuit. Max Verstappen topped the timesheets and it looked as though we were in for a proper title fight this year. Unfortunately, that promise is slowly dying as Mercedes push to improve and overtake Horner’s outfit. The tactical nous of the Silver Arrows is impeccable whilst Lewis Hamilton continues to deliver immaculate driving performances to claim the top spot on the podium on a regular basis.

 

Monaco – retro with a modern twist 

Thus, it will take a monumental effort for anyone to come close to beating Hamilton and co around the streets of Monaco this weekend. One team that has taken the spotlight in the build-up to the year’s most prestigious race is the Woking-based McLaren outfit. Norris and Ricciardo have been consistent point scorers so far. But the attention has been focused on their new livery for the weekend. McLaren has ditched their dark blue accents for a lighter shade.

Sporting Gulf’s colours.

If their performances on-track match their livery and social media team off it then they should be on for a podium finish at the very least.

Formula One fans always enjoy a bit of nostalgia. This begs the question, should teams be encouraged to sport ‘historic’ liveries at some point during the Championship? Ferrari delivered a beautiful paint job at the Tuscan GP last year. Would you like to see more of this on the grid in the coming seasons? Some people on social media have even gone as far as suggesting that Monaco becomes the home of retro liveries from this season onwards.

 

Verstappen hoping for Monaco redemption 

Red Bull have claimed victory on 4 occasions around the tight streets of Monaco. Mark Webber loved a win here, tasting the winner’s champagne twice. Sebastian Vettel won in 2012 and Daniel Ricciardo delivered success by overcoming the odds in 2018. On the other hand, Max Verstappen has not always enjoyed his visits to the principality. The young Dutchman crashed out in 2015 whilst racing for Toro Rosso, an occurrence that handed victory to Nico Rosberg.

Following on from his promotion to Red Bull – Max has never really performed at this particular circuit with his record currently sitting at 0 wins and a mere two top-five finishes. A measly return for a driver accustomed to battling at the front of the grid.

Therefore this weekend presents a unique opportunity for redemption. Red Bull have shown promise this season with good pace in qualifying and bursts of speed scattered throughout the race in various stints and phases. Thus a win or a double podium is not out of the question. Max Verstappen will need to deliver on Saturday to give himself a fighting chance as overtaking is tough in Monaco. However, should he secure a front-row start, it is plausible to expect him to break his podium drought in the principality.

 

Predictions and Projections 

The weekend is likely to be entertaining with practice 1 and 2 set to commence on a Thursday as per tradition. Drivers will have a lot of time to mull things over ahead of the crunch sessions on Saturday. A limited number of spectators will be allowed to attend the event but as Daniel Ricciardo put it, it will feel a little empty this year. Nevertheless, it will be great to return to one of the founding battlegrounds of modern Formula One.

Predicting this weekend’s results poses a tricky challenge. Hamilton and Verstappen are likely to contend for the top two positions in Monaco. Lewis to claim his 101st pole position whilst Max takes the win on Sunday after a stunning bit of strategy by Red Bull. Bottas and Perez will contest the final podium position with Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian performs better at Monaco than any other circuit on the calendar. Mercedes and Red Bull are likely to use their second drivers as pawns in an attempt to leverage a better result for their main drivers.

 

Many drivers’ hungry for a top-five finish 

The battle for 5th is going to be good. Norris, Leclerc, Sainz and Ocon are all going to want to be in with a shout. Lando has performed impeccably so far this season. His consistency was rewarded with a new contract keeping him at McLaren for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the Ferrari chassis might hold a slight advantage in Monaco.

Charles Leclerc has tonnes to prove at his home race. The Monegasque driver had an awful first experience of Monaco in a Ferrari back in 2019. Whilst French driver Esteban Ocon has looked like a man reborn in 2021. The former Mercedes junior has shown massive signs of progress and improvement. Clearly embracing the challenge laid down by his experienced teammate Fernando Alonso.

 

Russell to open his account in Monaco? 

The final prediction for the weekend is that George Russell will grab his first points finish at Monaco in 2021. The recent Valtteri Bottas news must have hit the young Englishman like a jackhammer as he certainly deserves a more competitive car. After all, he did beat Lando during their Championship battle in F2 back in 2018. Consequently, he will put in a top performance and grab a point this weekend.

Remember that the action starts earlier this weekend with the first sessions revving up Thursday morning – let’s hope for another interesting instalment of Formula One in 2021.

 

We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Monaco Grand Prix: Glitz and Glamour returns after a two-year hiatus.’ What are your predictions for this years Monaco Grand Prix? Let us know!

 

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Michael is a passionate sports fanatic from South Africa. He has been an avid follower of the Premier League, Super Rugby, International Cricket & Formula 1 for as long as he can remember. He enjoys writing on topics that spark debate and facilitates an environment of discussion.

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