The Jewel in the Crown – Monaco Grand Prix

The famous Monaco GP.

One of the most prestigious and famous motorsport events in the world.

The Monaco GP, the Indianapolis 500, and the 24 hours of Le Mans form the triple crown of automobile racing. The most desirable podiums for any racing driver.

The Monaco Grand Prix pre-dates the current Formula 1 World Championship.

Antony Noghès, the man who suggested the now internationally adopted checkered flag, founded the race in 1929. History was made on 14 April 1929 as William Grover-Williams won the first Monaco Grand Prix.

The events legacy is preserved to this day as the last corner is named after the track’s founder, and a statue of Grover-Williams and his Bugatti Type 35B sits in the heart of Monaco.

Statue of William Grover-Williams in Monaco Source: TripAdvisor

Until the Grand Prix inevitable cancellation in 2020 it had been held for 64 consecutive years. From the simpler early years to the complex speed machines of the modern day.

The Monaco Grand Prix became part of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1950. The inaugural race was the first win for eventual 5-time world champion Juan-Manuel Fangio. In the 1960s F1 legend Graham Hill won the Monaco GP 5 times granting him such nicknames as the “King of Monaco” and “Mr Monaco”.

Hill’s record would not be beaten until the 80s. When Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were entangled in one of the most heated rivalries in F1 history. From 1984-93 the race was won by these two. Prost claimed 4 Monaco victories over his career. However, Senna won a record 6 times. 5 of these in consecutive years from 1988-93.

During his dominant period at the turn of the century Michael Schumacher also claimed victory on the Monaco streets 5 times.

In the modern era, no driver has come close to the feats of Hill, Schumacher or Senna. Former Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton both have 3 victories at Monaco. Now a 7-time world champion (and counting) Hamilton still has time to emulate his boyhood hero (Senna).

Alain Prost (background) and Ayrton Senna (foreground) enter the hairpin in 1989 Source: Motorsportmagazine.com

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Die hard Formula 1 fans are able to name every corner of the Monaco track. Mostly due to the historic racing moments they are now associated with. Starting in the high-roller Casino section, the Mirabeau wall has claimed its fair share of drivers over the years.

Heading down towards the harbour, drivers enter the tightest and slowest hairpin on the F1 calendar. One of the most iconic tunnels in racing shrouds the drivers in darkness before reentering the beaming sun of the Monaco Harbour.

Mere metres from the Mediterranean Sea, the final sector requires a mixture of both skill and bravery to master. The swimming pool section and La Rascasse allow for some of the most iconic images in motor racing.

For over 90 years, the greatest racing divers in the world have taken to the streets of Monaco to test both their own skills and the limits of their vehicles. Requiring a blend of both courage and expertise, the Monaco Grand Prix holds a unique position in Motor Racing history. Relatively unchanged throughout its time, the jewel in the Formula 1 crown continues to be the one race that all drivers want to win.

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