F1 returns to the streets in Monaco this weekend after another three-week break. Let’s see who can conquer the twisty and technical circuit.
This weekend marks the return of the crown jewel of the F1 calendar, as the F1 grid takes to the streets of Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix. It is a welcome sight for the sport, after another, albeit unplanned three-week break occurred after last week’s race in Imola was canceled due to historic flooding in the region near the circuit.
Ferrari made a donation of €1 million toward the victims of the floods, which was matched by F1. While the calendar moves on to Monaco this weekend, we’re certainly still thinking of all those affected in Italy this weekend.
As we then move forward and shift our focus to this weekend, let’s get a quick refresher on where things stand. Max Verstappen leads the championship by 14 points after his win at the Miami Grand Prix. The two-time champion breezed past his teammate Sergio Perez in the final stages in South Florida on fresher tires, extending his advantage at the top of the championship after it was just six points prior to the race.
Fernando Alonso picked up another podium, while the four drivers of Ferrari and Mercedes made up positions four through seven. While Red Bull is still firmly ahead of the other teams, the trio of teams behind them should be close again this weekend. Red Bull themselves may find things a bit tougher though with driver skill more of an equalizer at Monaco, meaning we shouldn’t assume anything this weekend.
Aston Martin and Honda team up
Also, this week we saw some big news regarding the 2026 regulations. Aston Martin, currently using the Mercedes power unit, has announced that they will join with Honda to use their engines beginning in 2026. This lines up with the new engine regulations for that season and adds another power unit manufacturer to the list for the next era after Red Bull decided to link up with Ford for 2026.
While it’s hard to predict how things will look in 2026, the Honda power unit currently in the Red Bull is clearly the best on the grid. We’ll see if this is the final step in Aston Martin’s surge to the front, or if Mercedes can rebound and put together another monstrous power unit for the new regulations.
Agony for Charles, ecstasy for Checo #MonacoGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/7BjlL8IpXB
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2023
The Circuit de Monaco is one of the most famous racing circuits on the planet, with a rich F1 history. The 3.337 km (2.074 miles) circuit that runs through the streets of Monaco is tight and difficult to master, but so rewarding for the one who crosses the finish line first on Sunday. The circuit first held an automobile race in 1929, and it appeared on the calendar in F1’s first official season in 1950, before leaving and coming back in 1955. It has since hosted an F1 race each year with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ayrton Senna, nicknamed the “King of Monaco,” won at the circuit a record six times. Among active drivers, Lewis Hamilton has three wins, and Fernando Alonso has two. Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez each have one win, having won the 2021 and 2022 races respectively.
This weekend, the teams will have the C3 (Hard), C4 (Medium), and C5 (Soft) tires available to them, the softest in the Pirelli range. Friday and Saturday should be dry, while there is a good chance of a wet race on Sunday. The forecast currently calls for an 80% chance of rain on Sunday, meaning we may get even more chaos if the track is safe to race.
A Lap of Monaco
With so much history attached to the streets it sits on, nearly every corner on the circuit has a name attached to it. This makes things a bit confusing for new viewers, but it’s part of what makes the circuit so unique. I’ll include the names in parentheses as we go through the lap so you can pick up on some.
The track starts on the short front stretch up to Turn 1 (Saint Devote), a 90-degree right-hander with little space on the exit as drivers push to the edge. It’s then up the hill of Turn 2 and into the long left of Turn 3 (Beau Rivage and Massenet). Turn 4 (Casino) is a slow right-hander that takes the drivers into the slowest section on the track. A hard right at Turn 5 (Mirabeau Haute) leads into the slowest turn on the F1 calendar: the hairpin. Drivers crawl through this left-handed turn before hitting two more slow right-handers (Mirabeau Bas and Portier) and being released onto the back straight through the tunnel.
Coming out of the long right-handed Turn 9 in the tunnel the drivers slam on the brakes down to the Nouvelle Chicane at Turns 10 and 11. This is the best overtaking spot on the track, though there aren’t really any effective ones at Monaco in general. Out of the chicane comes the fast left-handed Turn 12 (Tabac). It’s then two more chicanes the drivers have to navigate from Turns 13 to 17 (Swimming Pool). The first chicane is flat, but the second is extremely tight, and if drivers aren’t precise they’ll take a trip to the barriers and ruin their day.
The final two corners are slow right-handers (La Rascasse and Anthony Nogues) that take the drivers back onto the main straight, where the only DRS zone is located.
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing – 119 points
- Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing – 105 points
- Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin – 75 points
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – 56 points
- Carlos Sainz, Ferrari – 44 points
- George Russell, Mercedes – 40 points
- Charles Leclerc, Ferrari – 34 points
- Lance Stroll, Aston Martin – 27 points
- Lando Norris, McLaren – 10 points
- Pierre Gasly, Alpine – 8 points
- Red Bull Racing – 224 points
- Aston Martin – 102 points
- Mercedes – 96 points
- Ferrari – 78 points
- McLaren – 14 points
- Alpine – 14 points
- Haas – 8 points
- Alfa Romeo – 6 points
- AlphaTauri – 2 points
- Williams – 1 point
With Monaco all about Saturday qualifying, this prediction essentially rests on who will be the pole-sitter this weekend. Charles Leclerc has the last two poles on his home track, but no hardware to show for it. As foolish as it may sound, I’ll say it’s the third time a charm for Leclerc, and I’ll take him to finally get that elusive home Grand Prix victory.
- Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
- Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
How To Watch – F1 at Monaco (U.S. and U.K. times)
- Practice 1: Friday, May 26 – 7:30 a.m. ET – ESPN2 (12:30 Sky Sports F1)
- Practice 2: Friday, May 26 – 11:00 a.m. ET – ESPN2 (16:00 Sky Sports F1)
- Practice 3: Saturday, May 27 – 6:30 a.m. ET – ESPN2 (11:30 Sky Sports F1)
- Qualifying: Saturday, May 27 -10:00 a.m. ET – ESPN (15:00 Sky Sports F1)
- Grand Prix Sunday (Pre-Show): Sunday, May 28 – 7:30 a.m. ET – ABC (12:30 Sky Sports F1)
- Monaco Grand Prix: Sunday, May 28 – 9:00 a.m. ET – ABC (14:00 Sky Sports F1)