Formula 1 takes to the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend for the most glamorous race of the season; the Monaco Grand Prix. The Mercedes team enters the sixth round of the championship having dominated the year so far. Lewis Hamilton took his fourth straight win for the squad last time out in Spain, followed home by teammate Nico Rosberg. Both drivers have won in Monaco before, Hamilton for McLaren in 2008 and local boy Rosberg for Mercedes last year. With no team orders the pair will fight bitterly for the win.
Elsewhere in the field, reigning world champion Sebastien Vettel will be hoping for a good result at a track where his Renault-powered Red Bull’s relative lack of straight-line speed will not be that much of an issue. The German has only won the race once before in 2011 and has yet to finish better than third so far this year. Vettel’s Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo has had the upper hand in the inter-team battle thus far in 2014, barring a disqualification and a retirement. A podium finish and possibly even the win is easily within his reach.
The Ferrari pairing of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have endured a torrid start to their season, Alonso picking up a single third place finish in China, while Raikkonen has yet to finish better than seventh. They have three wins at Monaco between them, Alonso taking the victories in 2006 and ’07, while Raikkonen triumphed all the way back in 2005.
McLaren’s double podium at the opening race of the season in Australia (after Ricciardo was thrown out), has proven to be a blip, drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen failing to score in the last three races. The Monaco circuit’s unique challenges can flatter to deceive, but both Ferrari and McLaren will need to stage a major turn-around if they are to finish on the podium in Sunday’s race.