Monaco GP: Why it remains THE challenge F1 drivers must conquer

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Monaco GP: Why it remains THE challenge F1 drivers must conquer

The guide to a marvelously unique circuit

Nineteen narrow corners. Barriers in a driver’s eyeline throughout, ready to punish even the smallest of errors.

Alongside the stunning backdrop of the French Riviera. This, is the Circuit de Monaco.

F1’s most difficult lap starts with a run down to a narrow right-hander, Sainte Devote; named after a chapel which is situated just behind the corner. Sainte Devote offers plenty of opportunity for carnage – particularly on Lap One – while also offering an overtaking opportunity as it’s at the end of a DRS straight.

A run up the hill with a slight kink in the track (Beau Rivage) leads you to Massenet, a tight but surprisingly quick left-hander. It takes its name from a French composer, with the corner skirting the Monaco opera house.

Drivers then get to ‘Casino’, a right bend which passes the Casino de Monte-Carlo.

Now things get a bit tighter. The Mirabeau Haute and Mirabeau Bas right-handers, named after the nearby hotel, sandwich one of the most recognisable corners on the circuit, the Grand Hotel Hairpin. Good luck getting your car around this, let alone attempting an overtake!

Instead of driving into the sea, it’s a good idea to turn right at Portier – before drivers make their way into the tunnel. There’s a gradual right bend in there, although it’s easily flat out these days.

Out of the tunnel, drivers are greeted by an overtaking opportunity into the Nouvelle Chicane. Oh, and by many fans on yachts…

Then we have a left-hander, Tabac – named after a small tobacco shop.

We then have a fast and incredibly technical ‘swimming pool complex’, with two chicanes which look, and must feel, lightning quick – with barriers ready to punish the smallest mistake. The left-to-right chicane is named Louis Chiron – a Monegasque former driver – while the right-to-left takes cars back around the swimming pool.

Then it’s time for the very narrow La Rascasse corner (next to a restaurant of the same name), where there have been many incidents over the years, before drivers take on a more manageable final Anthony Noghes right-hander. Noghes was the founder of the Monaco GP.

Drivers then make their way back up the start-finish straight to complete the lap.

Do that for 78 laps at the front and you become a Monaco Grand Prix winner.

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