MOTOR RACING – May 25 – MONACO GRAND PRIX
As with several other European Grands Prix, the Monaco race predates the current World Championship. The principality’s first Grand Prix was organised in 1929 by Anthony Noghès, under the auspices of Prince Louis II, through the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM). In order to attain full national status, Noghès proposed the creation of an automobile Grand Prix in the streets of Monte Carlo.
The first Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco was an invitation only event, but not all the invitees decided to attend. Maserati and Alfa Romeo drivers decided not to compete but Bugatti was well represented. Mercedes sent their leading driver, Rudolf Caracciola, to drive a Mercedes SSK. Caracciola drove a fighting race, bringing his SSK up to second position at the end of the race, despite starting in fifteenth. The race was won by “Williams” (pseudonym of expatriate Briton William Grover-Williams) driving a Bugatti Type 35B painted in what would become the famous British racing green.
Britain’s Graham Hill won the race five times in the 1960s and became known as “King of Monaco.” The 1965 race is considered to have been his best performance. Having gained pole position, Hill led from the start. On lap 25, to avoid a slow backmarker, he detoured via an escape road, and rejoined the race in fifth place. Hill then proceeded to set several new lap records on the way to winning the race. The race was also notable for the debut of Honda in the World Championship, and for Paul Hawkins’ Lotus ending up in the harbour!
For the decade from 1984 to 1993, the race was won by only two drivers – Frenchman Prost and Brazilian Ayrton Senna. Prost gained his first Monaco win in 1984. The race was delayed by 45 minutes, following heavy rain. Prost led briefly before Nigel Mansell overtook him on lap 11. Mansell crashed out five laps later, letting Prost back into the lead. On lap 27, Prost led from Ayrton Senna and Stefan Bellof. Senna was catching Prost and Bellof was catching both of them. However on lap 31, the race was controversially stopped. Later, FISA fined the clerk of the course, Jacky Ickx, $6,000 and suspended his licence for not consulting the stewards before stopping the race. The drivers received only half of the points that would usually be awarded, as the race had been stopped before two thirds of the intended race distance had been completed. Prost lost that year’s championship by only half a point, less than the points lost by the early stoppage of the race.Senna holds the record for the most victories in Monaco, with six, including five between 1989 and 1993, as well as eight podium finishes in ten starts.
THE MONACO GRAND PRIX TODAY
In 1996, Michael Schumacher took pole position before crashing out on the first lap. Damon Hill led the first 40 laps before his engine expired in the tunnel. Jean Alesi took the lead, but suffered suspension failure 20 laps later. Olivier Panis, who started in 14th place, moved into the lead and stayed there until the end of the race, being pushed all the way by David Coulthard. It was Panis’ only win, and the last for his Ligier team. Only four cars finished the race. Seven-time world champion Schumacher would eventually win the race five times, matching Graham Hill’s record. In his last appearance, at the 2006 event, he attracted criticism while provisionally holding pole position with the qualifying session drawing to a close, by stopping his car at the Rascasse hairpin, blocking the track. A result of this was that yellow flags were waved, so that competitors were obliged to slow down, thus meaning they would not be able to beat Schumacher’s lap time. Although Schumacher claimed it was a genuine accident, the FIA disagreed and Schumacher was sent to the back of the grid.
2007 Fernando Alonso, McLaren Mercedes
2006 Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2005 Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren Mercedes
2004 Jarno Trulli, McLaren Mercedes
2003 Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams-BMW
2002 David Coulthard, McLaren Mercedes
2001 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari
2000 David Coulthard, McLaren Mercedes
The 2008 race, scheduled for 25th May, forms the sixth leg of this season’s eighteen-race championship.
BETTING ON THE MONACO GRAND PRIX
Some interesting statistics are that three of the four winners at Bahrain since the race was first held in 2004 have gone on to win the Drivers’ Championship, while seven of the last ten winners in Spain have won the World Championship. Contrastingly, only three of the last ten Monaco winners have gone on to win the World Championship. The Monaco Grand Prix is the undoubtedly one of the showpieces of the Formula One motor racing season. Drivers would not necessarily agree due to the difficulty of the track. Only the British Grand Prix generates as much UK betting interest. Qualifying is critical. Position on the starting grid will have a great bearing on the race outcome and hence any online bets placed thereon. The narrow 3.34 kilometre circuit, in the streets of Monte Carlo, is notorious for the difficulty of overtaking, and is rated the most difficult test for drivers in Formula One.
As with any other race, there are many online betting markets associated with the Monaco Grand Prix. Betting on the outright winning driver is the most popular market, but the punter can find added interest in markets such as winning constructor, podium finish, points finish, number of finishers, first retirement, amongst an array of others. The Monaco Grand Prix is an excellent vehicle for Grand Prix “in running” online betting since things can (and often do!) change very quickly.