5 things to know about the Monaco GP

By Jerome Pugmire, AP, 24 May 2014

The Monaco Grand Prix is considered the most glamorous circuit in Formula One. It is also the most eagerly-anticipated race of the season, where fans pack the stands and millionaires, film stars and celebrities all come to be seen. The circuit itself has remained nearly unchanged since 1950.

Here are five things to know about the Monaco GP, starting with a look at some of the notorious turns on the world-famous track.


© AP Photo/Antonio Calanni

KEY TURNS: Turn No. 1 at Sainte Devote is one of the most difficult for braking, as the circuit makes a prolonged turn to the right. A driver needs to approach it from the middle of the track, and braking too hard has its perils because the car's front wheels may lock, sending the driver down an escape road or into the barriers.

Turn No. 4 at the Casino: The bumps present the main difficulty with the Casino turn, the worst of which come after the corner itself when the car starts going downhill. Drivers can avoid the bumps by staying well to the right.

Turn No. 5 at Mirabeau: The secret is to brake with the car nice and straight, but not for too long otherwise the wheels can lock. The front right tyre often lifts off the ground for a few seconds.

Turn 18 at La Rascasse: The essential trick here is to brake straight, so as not to lock up the left front tyre. Rascasse sits just below the overhanging Princely Palace -- Prince Albert's huge residence.


© LAT Photographic/Williams

RECORD BREAKERS: Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher set the lap record of 1 minute 14.439 seconds driving for Ferrari ten years ago. But the late Ayrton Senna was the true master of Monaco, and he holds the record with six wins, followed by Graham Hill and Schumacher with five each. During qualifying in 1988, Senna raced one of the greatest single laps in F1 history, finishing a massive 1.427 seconds clear of McLaren teammate Alain Prost on a track not noted for speed. McLaren has won the most races here with 15.


© AP Photo/Luca Bruno

POLE SITTERS: In nine of the past ten seasons, the driver who started from pole position has gone on to win the race -- with the exception being Lewis Hamilton in 2008, when he won from third place on the grid on his way to the F1 title. Although the backdrop is spectacular, the race itself can turn into something of a procession, with Germany's Nico Rosberg leading from start to finish last year. Getting past the first turn in the lead often leads to victory. But the late Jim Clark, a two-time F1 champion, never won it despite clinching four pole positions in the 1960s.


© Sutton Images/Corbis/AP Images

SLOW DOWN: Don't expect a fast race in Monaco. With its 19 corners -- seven to the left and 12 to the right -- tight, narrow sections and even some uphill passages, Monaco's tight and twisty layout is responsible for the lowest average speed, the lowest average corner speed and the lowest top speed seen all season. The race distance is 260.52 kilometres (161.5 miles) and drivers traditionally use soft and supersoft tyres.


© AP Photo/Dimitar Dilkoff

NO WAY PAST: Overtaking in Monaco means generating enough speed and finding enough space to do so, a tall order given the narrow, sinewy track. The driver in pole position is often secure over the 78 laps, providing he makes a good start. The track has many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel. It goes past Monaco's world famous casino and the prestigious Hotel de Paris, up through the city streets and around the glittering harbour, where sun-drenched millionaires sit back and sip Champagne on their huge yachts.


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