Formula One Monaco Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
There’s plenty going on in the world of motorsports this Memorial Day weekend.
Here in the United States all attention will be on the Indianapolis 500 but over in Europe there’s the Nürburgring 24 Hours as well as one of racing’s real spectacles, the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix.
The Monaco race, round six of the 2016 World Championship, is always a fan favorite because of the amazing backdrop. But it’s also popular with the drivers, many of whom live nearby.
The Monaco race was on 1950’s inaugural F1 calendar and has been a regular fixture since ’55. The layout of the 2.1-mile Circuit de Monaco has remained largely unchanged over the years, the biggest updates taking place in 2004 when a new pit complex was built.
Ferrari at the 2016 Formula One Monaco Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
The race is the shortest of the year, yet arguably the most demanding because of its tight turns, narrow stretches and lack of runoffs. Grip levels are also low since the circuit consists fully of public roads that open to normal traffic each evening of the race weekend, so there isn’t much rubber left on the surface by the time of Sunday’s race. Not surprisingly the average speed is only 100 mph.
Because of the low speeds and grip levels, Pirelli has nominated an ultrasoft tire for the first time along with its supersoft and soft compounds. And looking at the weather forecast, we could be in for some scattered thunderstorms on Sunday. The peak temperature will be a mild 67 degrees F (19 degrees C).
There weren’t many dramas during practice although drivers for Haas, Manor and Renault all made contact with the barriers at some point. Putting in the quickest time was Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo though Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were close behind.
Going into tomorrow’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race, Rosberg leads the 2016 Drivers’ Championship with 100 points ahead of Ferrari’s [NYSE:RACE] Kimi Räikkönen in second with 61 points and Hamilton in third with 57 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 157 points versus the 109 of Ferrari and 94 of Red Bull. Last year’s winner of the Monaco Grand Prix was Rosberg.