Arguably the most iconic track in all of racing, the Monaco Grand Prix takes center stage again this weekend. A year ago the race began behind a safety car on the formation lap before being red flagged due to the pouring rain. Haas has both their cars out of the race by lap 27, with Mick Schumacher’s crash bringing out another red flag.
The story of the day was pole sitter Charles Leclerc pitting well after Sergio Perez and being double stacked with his teammate Carlos Sainz, losing far too much time and falling all the way off the podium. Perez took home the win with Sainz in second and Max Verstappen in third.
This weekend there is a chance of rain all weekend but, after having last weekend’s race in Imola called off due to the immense rain and flooding in the region, it does appear to be a relatively dry weekend. Currently it appears the chance of rain during qualification and race day sitting right around 20%. If there is rain, Pirelli will get the chance to debut their new intermediate and wet tires that don’t require tire warmers.
Ultimately, I anticipate some mild weather coming into play in the strategy of the day which, based on recent seasons, doesn’t bode well for Ferrari despite the fact they may have the best car for the circuit. I anticipate this being the first non-Red Bull win of the season, with Fernando Alonso my pick to end his win drought given how quick the Aston Martin is in the corners and the fact the track will limit the Red Bull DRS impact. That doesn’t mean Red Bull won’t see the podium, as I expect the Perez to have another excellent showing on a street circuit and finish second. Leclerc is my pick to round out the podium and give him his first podium in his hometown.
Other stories to watch will be how Mercedes does this weekend, as they are expected to debut a number of upgrades in Monaco despite it being a track that is easy to clip a wall. With many other teams holding off on their upgrades another week, this may be Mercedes making a desperate swing to regain traction as a top three team, but I am not optimistic.
A driver I think is a lock to finish in the points despite not being one of the top teams is Valtreri Bottas, as I expect him to actually finish in the top eight on Sunday.
We will also see the return of F2 and F3 giving us a full weekend of racing to take in as Monaco becomes the first European race of the season.