After a quiet Spanish Grand Prix, Formula One heads to its crown jewel as the action touches down in Monaco.
Lewis Hamilton come here with a 17 point lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and both drivers have won the last two races around here, leaving both with two wins apiece so who will reign supreme around these streets?
With so many questions up and down the grid, here’s a guide to what to watch out for over the course of the weekend.
Circuit: Circuit De Monaco
Race Distance: 260.286km
Can Hamilton finally win around here in the dry?
Championship leader. Lewis Hamilton comes to Monaco looking for his third win around the Principality.
His first win in 2008 came in a rain soaked race before following it up with a wet-dry victory two years ago, so can the Brit finally manage a dry race win around here?
Mercedes Team principal, Toto Wolff however is being ‘cautious’ when it comes to this weekend, saying; “Red Bull are strong in the slow-speed corners and where straight-line speed is less important, wile Ferrari dominated last year.”
With this not being a power centric circuit and Red Bull definitely back to their best, Wolff is definitely right in having an open mind after last year’s set up issues here.
Williams’ poor run about to get worse?
Since F1 moved into the hybrid era, only one Williams driver has managed to score points in Monaco – Felipe Massa.
Now that the Brazilian is gone and Williams often struggle around the Principality, this weekend looks like it could well be the season’s ultimate low point for such a legendary team.
Speaking in the team’s race preview, Paddy Lowe revealed that there won’t be many adjustments and the main focus is ‘to give the drivers the maximum number of laps in the car, because you cannot practice off-line.’
Both drivers don’t seem worried heading into this weekend, with Lance Stroll speaking about the ‘cool’ atmosphere.
Sergey Sirotkin meanwhile described the track as ‘difficult and technical’, although he earned a podium around here before in GP2 so views this weekend as ‘one of my top two or three events…’
We therefore shouldn’t expect much here with Canada probably being more pivotal to how this season moves forward.
Leclerc’s home F1 Debut
Having made an impressive start to his F1 career with Sauber, Monaco’s Charles Leclerc is feeling ‘a lot of emotions’ as he makes his F1 debut around his home circuit.
This circuit should suit the Monegasque driver if his performance from Baku is anything to go by and in Sauber’s race preview, he says; “Driving on City circuits is something that I always enjoy, and I love the challenge that it brings to me as a driver.”
We definitely saw evidence of that in two rounds ago when he took advantage of a crazy race to finish sixth, so expect Leclerc to be in the points mix if he can continue to make progress as he has done in last few rounds.
This weekend sees Pirelli’s new pink Hypersoft compound make its F1 bow.
Hypersoft tyres will be used at circuits where maximum mechanical grip is needed, so expect to see those circuits which used the ultra, super and soft compounds last season feature the hypersofts alongside the ultra and super compounds.
With next to little running on this tyre, its no surprise to see teams selecting numerous sets of the new compound for this race compared to the more traditional, where they already have data.
Whilst most teams are confident on hypersofts, Mercedes, Haas and McLaren are taking less of the softest compounds than their rivals.
Mercedes and Haas in fact have put their drivers on different tyre strategies with Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen taking one set of supersofts and three Ultrasofts.
Valtteri Bottas and Romain Grosjean meanwhile have gone for two sets of each harder compound alongside both McLaren drivers.
Could that be a confidence issue with the hypersofts or do they believe that those tyres will fall away quicker than many expect so want to keep options open?
Can Sergio Perez snatch another street podium?
Sergio Perez has been quite the street specialist since joining Force India, with three of his four podiums for the team coming at street circuits.
One of those occasions was here in 2016, when he mastered the elements to claim a surprise third place.
Speaking in Force India’s race preview about his street race form, the Mexican said; “I always enjoy street circuits and I think it’s another good opportunity for us to score points.”
Discussing the difficulty of Monaco, Esteban Ocon described Monaco as a ‘true driving challenge’ whilst Perez feels that ‘Every lap you are under pressure.’
With a dry weekend forecast, another podium realistically is going to come down to a crazy race and luck but don’t rule out Perez just yet.
Missed any of the first five race weekends and want to get up to date? Click on any of the hyperlinks below to go and check out my round up of the weekend/s.