Picture this; 3,340 km of racing track, 19 hairpin turns on the same track, and elevation shifts. What do you get when you place Formula One machines on this circuit? Of course you expect drama at both the slowest and quickest hairpins in the calendar, collisions and much more.
It is no wonder one of the greatest racing icons, Nelson Piquet, likened the Monte Carlo streets to riding a bike in your bedroom. If you are a Formula 1 enthusiast, you appreciate the importance of any driver winning on these streets.
As one of the most popular tracks with fans, drivers push themselves to the limit to earn points and also dazzle the crowd. In the process, great moments are inadvertently created. Take a look at some of these moments:
Good things always happen at the Monaco Grand Prix. Here are some great moments:
- The king of Monaco is crowned, 1963-69: Graham Hill is a legend in all ways especially in his exploits at Monaco GP. He won five times in seven years. Talk of domination!
- Arrival of Ayrton Senna, 1984: He might not have won the race, but the amazing Senna pushed Alain Prost to the limit when Prost complained of the wet conditions just when Senna was crossing the line. The race was stopped and Prost won.
- Senna vs. Prost, 1984-93: The domination of these two drivers on this track is incredible. They shared ten wins on the Monte Carlo streets with Senna taking six of these. Racing has never enjoyed such moments to date. Probably Rosberg and Hamilton will revive such healthy competition.
- Enter Michael Schumacher: Driving for Benetton in 1994, the German showed the stuff he was made of by winning the 1st of his five wins on the streets to become the next king of Monte Carlo streets.
- Inspired overtaking: Hulkensberg and Bianchi take the title of the kings of overtaking on these tough streets of this principality. Pundits always argue you can’t overtake here, but these stars showed anything can be done with apt skills.
- Hamilton wins it wet, 2008: Rookie or not, the Brit showed the world the stuff he was made of by sticking to dry tires and winning it.
The Bad and the Ugly
With the good come the bad and the ugly. This circuit has witnessed its fair share of controversies. Take a look:
- The ‘parking’ incident: In 2006, Schumacher was still a hot item, but he put a blot on his escutcheon when he deliberately blocked Alonso from qualifying at the Rascasse hairpin. He was penalized by starting from the back of the grid. Nasty, isn’t it?
- Where are the cars? This was the question officials were asking in 1996 as most cars retired and only three drivers Coulthard, Oliver Panis and Hrebert finished the race due to wet weather.
- Anyone who wants to win? Another crazy event happened in 1982 when everyone seemed incapable of winning. During the final laps, the lead changed six times and eventually Ricardo Patresse took victory.
- The 1955 crazy somersault into the harbour by Alberto Ascari
Of course there are many other great moments since inclusion of the track on the FIA calendar. Consider Senna’s 1988 clouting of the barriers to retire and lose the ocean spray chaos of 1950 and myriad crashes, and you will appreciate why Monaco reigns supreme as the quintessential Grand Prix.