Formula 1: Five Factors To Watch Out For In Monaco


Can Hamilton extend Mercedes' victory streak? Can Vettel get back to winning ways? And exactly when will Maldonado crash?

Formula 1's biggest, most glamorous race of the season is upon us and, as ever, there's plenty to look out for in the Principality this weekend. 

Can Lewis Make It Five?

Until he got his hands on this year's Mercedes Lewis Hamilton had never won more than two races in a row. In Monaco he'll look it make it five. That's a rare feat: only six drivers have won five or more races on the bounce - and all went on to win the world title.

He won't have it easy though. Team-mate Nico Rosberg has pushed him hard in recent races, and the German won in Monaco last year. We could be in for an epic intra-team battle on the Principality streets.

A Red Bull Renaissance?

But Mercedes won't necessarily have it all their won way in Monaco. The nature of the circuit means Red Bull will have a better chance here than almost any other venue, particularly if they can qualify well.

Sebastian Vettel certainly thinks so. When asked if his team can challenge the Mercedes in Monaco, the reigning world champion replied: “I think yes. It is difficult to predict but, at Monaco, perhaps you need a little bit less power - you still need power, but probably a little bit less than at other places - or maybe there's some rain, which could help us as well. So there's always a chance to beat everybody.”

However Monaco has never been Vettel's strongest circuit, so it will be fascinating to see how upstart team-mate Daniel Ricciardo fares this weekend. Beating Vettel at F1's marquee event would be a huge boost to the young Aussie.

More Misery For Ferrari?

After a torrid start to the 2014 season Ferrari would relish a strong result in Monaco. But is it likely? The Scuderia haven't excelled in the Principality during the past decade, with their last win there coming courtesy of Michael Schumacher in 2001.

Their drivers both know how to get the job done on the streets - Kimi Raikonnen won in 2005 while Fernando Alonso claimed back-to-back victories in 2006-07 - but neither did so in a Ferrari. Having finished a lap behind the Mercedes last time out in Spain, anything more ambitious than a top-five finish seems fanciful - while victory is the stuff of pure fantasy.

Maldonado In Monaco: Maniac or Magician?

Though he's had a disastrous start to 2014, Pastor Maldonado will be heading to Monaco feeling optimistic. Why? Because he's very, very good on the Principality's streets. When he's not crashing, that is.

Maldonado won there three times in the junior categories and was very impressive on his F1 debut in 2011 until Lewis Hamilton put him in the turn one barriers.

It's not really come together since, but there's no question that the Venezuelan has a real affinity for the circuit. If he can't beat Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean here it will be very telling.

Remembering 'Black Jack'

Three-time world champion Jack Brabham passed away on Monday, 55 years and one week after he claimed victory in Monaco. It was the Aussie's first grand prix triumph but certainly not the last: Brabham went on to win 14 times and lifted the title in 1959, '60 and '66. The last was hugely significant, as owner-driver Brabham became the first and to-date only man to become champion in a car baring his name. Expect plenty of tributes to Australia's greatest F1 racer this weekend in Monaco.