Monte Carlo
Total Laps:78
Track:3.337km (2.074mi)
Race:260.29km (161.77mi)
Fastest Lap:S.Perez 1:14.820
The jewel in Formula One's crown. The dash through the Principality's tortuous streets is the most prestigious on the calendar; it stands on a pedestal, almost distinct from the sport from which it was born. It's the social event of the season, but Monte Carlo is also one of the most challenging destinations on the calendar. The lap may be the shortest seen all year, but still places extreme demands on the car and requires a unique set-up. First and foremost, Monaco is a street circuit with the lap dominated by slow speed corners and undulations playing havoc. Evocative corners, such as Lowes, Chicane and Rascasse are all taken in either first or second gear, so not only are the brakes worked considerably harder in Monaco than anywhere else, but the number of gear shifts made reaches over 4,000, some 500 more than at any other track. With speeds dipping to as low as 50kph on the entry to corners such as the Lowes hairpin, good traction to power the car out of the exit is crucial to set a competitive lap time. With less than half of the circuit driven at full throttle, the longest period lasting about eight seconds through the tunnel, drivers record the lowest average lap speed of all races, so engines are given a relatively easy ride over the weekend. The proximity of the barriers leaves no room for error and there are no straights along which they can relax. Overtaking is virtually impossible, which places extra importance on the qualifying session. Grid position is crucial. Add the glamour of the Monaco harbour and a handful of A-list celebrities into the mix and you have one of the biggest sporting events in the world. In summary, the playground of the rich and famous transforms itself into one of the season's greatest challenges.