A hairpin descent. Walls close enough to kiss. A dark tunnel and then a burst of blinding light along the waterfront.
The famed Circuit de Monaco, which first hosted a grand prix race in 1950, is one of the most iconic stops on Formula 1’s schedule. But the bling and the boats disguise an open secret: it is an incredibly narrow loop, where it is incredibly hard to pass and incredibly easy to find trouble.
Just ask Sergio Pérez, who will start last on Sunday after crashing in qualifying. Just ask Lewis Hamilton, who saw his car lifted off the circuit by a crane after his own accident on Saturday. Or just ask Fernando Alonso, who qualified second but now must find a way to get past Max Verstappen if he is to taste victory. That’s not as easy as it looks. On Sunday, it may be harder than ever.
How to Watch
Time: The Monaco Grand Prix starts at 3 p.m. in Monte Carlo, which is 9 a.m. Eastern time. (Global start times are here.)
TV: The race will air on ABC in the United States. Coverage starts at 7:30 a.m. Eastern. Not in America? A full list of Formula 1 broadcasters, wherever you are, can be found here.
Sunday’s Starting Grid
So that’s Verstappen and Alonso on the front row, which should come as no surprise. And that’s Esteban Ocon’s Alpine right behind them, which should come as a gigantic surprise.
Ferrari, starting fourth and sixth, and Mercedes, in fifth and eighth, will try to salvage what they can on Monaco’s narrow course. Sergio Pérez may be in for a long day looking at the back of other cars.
Sunday’s Story Lines
Can anyone catch Verstappen? You may have read this before. But with Pérez starting last, a win for Verstappen might blow open the points race.
Changes at Mercedes. The much-discussed and mostly agonizing (if you’re Hamilton or George Russell) wait for a Mercedes redesign has finally arrived. The biggest change that the team unveiled this week will be larger sidepods, but there are smaller ones here and there. Let a scientist or an engineer explain the aerodynamics of it all to you. Or just give it the eye test.
Last Time Out
There was no out last week after the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola was canceled amid heavy rains and deadly floods in northern Italy. That makes it three weeks since Max Verstappen’s win in Miami.
Drivers’ Championship Standings
After five starts, Red Bull’s only race remains the one against itself: