Formula 1 hits the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend for round six of the 2015 World Championship, with Lewis Hamilton continuing to lead the championship despite seeing team-mate Nico Rosberg take his first victory of the season last time out in Spain.
The 3.340km circuit in the principality of Monaco hosts its sixty-second race this year, it hosted its first race back in 1929, and has been an integral part of the F1 calendar since 1950, only missing out on hosting a Grand Prix on three occasions, all back in the 1950s.
Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS remain at the front of the field, with the team having taken there first 1-2 finish of the season last time out in Spain, with Rosberg leading Hamilton. It was the same result a year ago in Monaco, with the German leading home the Briton, with Rosberg gunning for his third consecutive victory at the circuit this season.
Scuderia Ferrari continue to be the main challengers to Mercedes, but even then Sebastian Vettel ended the Spanish Grand Prix forty seconds down on the race winner, with Kimi Raikkonen even further back in fifth. They continue with their updated car this weekend, and will be hoping the very different style of track helps them at least close the gap to the Mercedes duo.
The Williams Martini Racing team head into Monaco as the clear third fastest team, not really challenging those in front of them but neither being challenged from behind. Both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will be hoping that they can move forward this weekend, but will also be hopeful of taking advantage of any slip up from the drivers ahead of them.
Daniel Ricciardo will be looking to get back into the mix this weekend, and despite scoring points in every race so far, the Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver eager to erase the memories of the opening phase of the season that has been blighted by mechanical issue after mechanical issue, primarily with the Renault power unit, a problem that has also affected team-mate Daniil Kvyat. Both drivers are on their fourth and final Internal Combustion Engines, with a fifth incurring a grid penalty.
The Lotus F1 Team will be looking to continue their good run of form, at least on Romain Grosjean’s side of the garage; the Frenchman has scored points in the past three races, but heads into this weekend with a grid penalty due to a gearbox change that could potentially compromise his weekend.
Team-mate Pastor Maldonado will be looking just to finish after a difficult opening to the season. The Venezuelan has retired in four of the five races so far this year, and has yet to score a point.
Scuderia Toro Rosso impressed during qualifying in Spain, but could not match their performance during the race. Whereas Carlos Sainz Jr has prior experience of Monaco, having raced there last year in Formula Renault 3.5, Max Verstappen will be making his first start there this weekend, with both drivers eyeing up top ten finishes at the Principality.
The Sauber F1 Team had their least convincing weekend of the season in Spain, and will be hopeful that this was just a blip, with both Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson looking to finish inside the points again this weekend.
The Sahara Force India team have confessed that their upgraded car will not arrive until July, and both Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez will be hoping to finish inside the top ten and score points, something that will be a bonus for the team at this stage of the season.
A team still looking for their first points of the season is McLaren-Honda, but their development curve so far has been a steep one, and from being at the back of the field in Australia, both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are now firmly amongst the midfield runners and looking up, with points certainly not far away, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
Finally we come to the Manor F1 Team, who although at the back of the field, return to the scene of their finest hour in 2014, where Jules Bianchi secured the teams – then called Marussia – their first and only points in Formula 1. It will be an emotional weekend for the whole team, in particular for John Booth and Graeme Lowdon, and although unlikely to trouble the points, both Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi will be looking to continue their run of finishing every race they have started in 2015.
2014 Monaco Grand Prix Podium
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||+9.614s|
2015 Monaco Grand Prix Race Victory Odds
|Lewis Hamilton||8/11||Kimi Raikkonen||16/1|
|Nico Rosberg||11/8||Valtteri Bottas||66/1|
|Sebastian Vettel||9/1||Felipe Massa||80/1|
|All odds courtesy of Ladbrokes and are correct as of 20 May 2015. Odds may change before event. Other drivers quotes available.|