After being left off the 2020 Formula One schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the jewel in the crown is back on the calendar for this year as the Monaco Grand Prix takes off. Join The Roar for live blog coverage from 10:50 pm (AEST).
The notoriously difficult to pass circuit comes at an interesting time in the 2021 world championship, as the ball firmly rests in Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s court to gain points back on Lewis Hamilton.
Pole position at Monaco almost guarantees victory during the 78-lap grand prix, making qualifying the most crucial of the season. That can be attested by Daniel Ricciardo, who made his ailing Red Bull as wide as possible to hold on for an emphatic win back in 2018.
A spanner was thrown into the works this time around when Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was able to claim a surprise pole position, ahead of Verstappen who joins him on the front row. Hamilton meanwhile was left adrift in seventh.
Leclerc, though, will sweat on whether Ferrari will be able to recover his gearbox, following a crash that he sustained only moments after completing the pole lap – which red-flagged the remainder of Q3.
Ferrari’s speed through the low-speed corners of the Principality has turned heads and is said to be genuine, if their competition is to be believed. For Leclerc though, merely finishing his home grand prix would be an achievement – having failed to finish in his past four visits.
A special livery adorns the McLaren, celebrating their partnership with Gulf Oils and Lando Norris with a fresh multi-year contract and qualifying inside the top five, while former race winner Ricciardo struggled down in twelfth.
Williams also celebrate a special milestone, notching up their 750th grand prix – joining only McLaren and Ferrari to achieve this. Fifteenth for George Russell was the best they could accomplish, but given the chaotic nature of Monaco, a points finish cannot be ruled out.
With Hamilton potentially facing a race of damage limitation, will we see Verstappen take back some vital points in the championship? And can the Ferraris capitalise on a track that suits their car?
Who claims glory on the French Riviera? Tune into The Roar from 10:50pm (AEST) for all the action with our live blog of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Lights out: 11am (AEST)
Venue: Circuit de Monaco
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull), 3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), 4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), 5. Lando Norris (McLaren), 6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes). 8. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), 9. Sergio Perez (Red Bull). 10. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 11. Esteban Ocon (Alpine), 12. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), 13. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), 14. Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), 15. George Russell (Williams), 16. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), 17. Fernando Alonso (Alpine), 18. Nicholas Latifi (Williams), 19. Nikita Mazepin (Haas), 20. Mick Schumacher (Haas)