Monaco: The Greatest Race Track in Formula One?
The sounds of twenty engines singing at twenty thousand revolutions per minute around almost three and a half kilometers of windy, elevated, and treacherous pavement are a welcome sound to the people of France. This track encapsulates what a Formula One car is designed for. Built in the streets of Monaco, the track has many challenging corners, elevation changes, and it is very unforgiving to mistakes.
McLaren and Ferrari have very good records here so that should make for a very competitive race. Only three active drivers have scored a win here, and they all did it in a McLaren, although none of them drive in a silver car now. Fernando Alonso has two as well as David Coulthard, and Kimi Raikkonen has scored a win here too.
With the loss of traction control this year, will there be more attrition due to a carelessly placed wheel? If history has anything to say, drivers will have to pay even closer attention when they get back into the throttle as the very hard and very close walls of the track will definitely cause a threat to component damage or total vehicle destruction. From the tunnel and the chicanes to the steep incline up to Massenet (turn three), this track has many infamous sections that seem to yearn for rubber.
Monaco keeps the drivers full attention for almost two hours straight. Now add nineteen other cars around him and that allows for a very dramatic race. A tight, twisty track means that making a pass will be very risky to both competitors and must be timed just right. Qualifying will be even more important this year as the fewer cars that a competitor has to pass the easier his day will be.
So does the quality of driving needed to complete the race and the stunning atmosphere surrounding this tiny city in France constitute the best race of the calendar? Many of the drivers enjoy it because it is very challenging and the characteristics it shows resemble what a Formula One car is meant to do. Together with the atmosphere and scenery, I think of Monaco when Formula One is mentioned.
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