Round Six of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship takes FI’s teams and drivers to the streets of Monte Carlo for a race that encapsulates all of the sport’s glamour, excitement, rich heritage and incredible precision — the Monaco Grand Prix.
Formula One’s original street circuit — the 1950 edition was the World Championship’s second race — is one of the most exacting challenges faced by drivers all season. While the average speed here is the lowest of the year at around 160 km/h, the proximity of the barriers and the knowledge that the slightest mistake will be severely punished make it feel a lot faster and more intense.
The risk of error is exacerbated by the low levels of grip on track, as the streets are opened to the public each evening. For drivers the key is to feed themselves into the weekend gradually, building pace through each session in order to arrive at peak performance in time for Saturday’s crucial qualifying session.
To cope with the twists and turns and low grip, teams will bring their highest levels of downforce to the Principality. Tyre supplier Pirelli will also provide the softest compounds in its range. The C3 has been nominated as this weekend’s hard tyre, the C4 as the medium, while the C5, this weekend’s soft tyre, makes its first appearance of the racing season.
In the Drivers’ Championship, series leader Lewis Hamilton goes into the weekend with a seven-point advantage over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Max Verstappen now third, two points clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. In the Constructors’ Championship Mercedes lead with 217 points, 96 clear of Ferrari. The Silver Arrows are this weekend seeking their sixth straight one-two finish since the start of this 2019 campaign.
Last, but by no means least, this year’s event in Monaco will form part of the now annual FIA Volunteers’ Weekend. A global celebration of motor sport’s true unsung heroes, the occasion pays tribute to the marshals and officials whose passion for racing and commitment to safety and fair play keep motor sport on track around the world.
All photography Aleksandr B. Seregin