The departure of an extra Formula 1 break means F1 fans can't wait to see the cars hit the track in anger next weekend and what better place to see the drivers back in action than the crème de la crème of all its circuits F1: Monaco.
It first appeared on the official World Championship calendar in F1's inaugural year in 1950, has been held every year since 1955 (with the exception of one race canceled due to COVID in 2020) and is considered the pinnacle of the year for the sport and is race that every driver wants to win.
The late great Ayrton Senna was considered the absolute king of the Monte Carlo circuit, winning the race a record six times in his career, including five in a row between 1989 and 1993.
Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher have won five times at Monaco, while Australians Jack Brabham, Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo have tasted victory on the famous roads.
But of all the 69 World Cup matches played in the principality, which five stand the test of time the most?
So sit back, relax and take a trip down memory lane as I run through my top five Monaco Grands Prix of all time.
5. 2008 – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
Monaco is often a race renowned for driver skill rather than great racing in general, and you'll see that in most of the entries here. For starters, let's go to 2008, where Lewis Hamilton secured the first of his three (so far) victories in Monaco.
Having started third on the grid, Hamilton moved up to second behind pole-sitter Felipe Massa before crashing into the barrier at Tabac on lap six causing a puncture.
Fortunately for the future World Champion it wasn't too far from the pits and it was also raining, meaning other drivers were struggling and forced to pit. Damage limitation says Hamilton only dropped to fifth and with a long fuel period using intermediate tires when the track dried out.
The long pass proved crucial for the McLaren driver, setting a series of fast laps when he finally took the lead on lap 33 after Felipe Massa pitted, setting even faster laps before pitting himself on lap 54 for tyres. himself with an impressive lead of 40 seconds.
A late crash for Nico Rosberg's Williams caused a little drama in the race, but he held onto the lead and Hamilton cruised to victory in one of his best ever laps.
(Photo by Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
4. 1992 – Winner: Ayrton Senna (McLaren)
On paper, seeing the name Ayrton Senna next to first place on a Monaco Grand Prix results list is as common as seeing a blue sky or green grass.
But this was a race in which the Brazilian had to fight tooth and nail to claim victory in a season in which his McLaren was far inferior to Nigel Mansell's dominant Williams.
Mansell went into Monaco having won the first five races of the season and secured the ever-crucial pole position on Saturday, setting himself up for a sixth consecutive victory and his first Monaco triumph.
After leading and dominating the entire race, Mansell lost a wheel nut on his FW14B with just seven laps to go, forcing him to pit. This late stop put him behind Senna's McLaren, and with Senna on used tires and Mansell on new tyres, it seemed inevitable that the Briton would find a way past the Brazilian.
(Photo by Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images)
However, what followed was one of the most tense and exciting wheel-to-wheel races the sport has ever seen, as Senna did everything in his power to hold Mansell back for the final four laps and eventually he succeeded, finishing just two laps. tenths ahead of Mansell to claim his first victory of the 1992 season and penultimate victory on the streets of Monaco.
Mansell would end up having the last laugh in 1992 by winning the championship, but it was an incredible duel between two legends of the sport.
3. 1961 – Vencedor: Stirling Moss (Lotus)
Another race where top driving takes the cake when it comes to a win. The legendary Stirling Moss held off the then-dominant Ferrari to claim what many argue is his best race ever.
Moss took pole on Saturday but was quickly overtaken by the more powerful Ferrari of Richie Ginther on race day in what was described as the 'sharnose' Ferrari that would win five of eight races that year in the hands of Phil Hill and Giancarlo Baghetti.
Dropping to third behind Lotus team-mate Jim Clark, Moss was able to pass Ginther on lap 14 after Clark retired with a fuel pump problem and retook the lead. Similar to Hamilton in 2008, a series of incredible laps from Moss helped him hold on to the lead and take the final victory ahead of the frustrated Ferraris of Ginther and Hill.
Such was the impressive nature of Moss's driving, his fastest lap was the same time he had set a year earlier in a car that had a far superior and more powerful engine than his 1961 car. the best driver never to win a world championship championship.
2. 1996 – Winner: Olivier Panis (Ligier)
The race with the fewest finishes in F1 history produced the most unlikely of winners in what turned out to be a very entertaining Monaco Grand Prix.
Olivier Panis in his Ligier had only qualified 14th and was a long way from taking the win. However, with only 13 of the 22 cars still running after five laps, his chances improved, before a nicely timed pit stop for slicks in the wet made him even more excited.
Panis was on the podium when Damon Hill's Williams exploded on lap 40, then took the lead on lap 60 after Jean Alesi's Benetton retired with a broken suspension.
The race then became a timed affair after the opening laps were run at a slow pace, meaning the 78 laps would not be completed in the two hours that had been predicted. The Ligier team were nervous about Panis as their car was low on fuel and they avoided pitting it for fuel as it would have cost them a famous win.
With David Coulthard's McLaren (racing with Michael Schumacher's helmet) growing larger in his mirrors, the Frenchman lifted and slowed in the corners and downshifted on the exits to try and save fuel, an effort that eventually paid off when he passed cross the finish line first. to take its only F1 victory and the last for Ligier.
1. 1982 – Vencedor: Riccardo Patrese (Brabham)
Considered "the fight nobody wanted to win" and once described by the late great Murray Walker as "the craziest fight ever", this fight is best known for all the drama that unfolded over the last three rounds.
Rene Arnoux in his Renault initially led the race for the first 15 laps before turning around and retiring. From there, teammate Alain Prost led for most of the race before he too spun, wrecking his car by losing a wheel and handing the lead to Riccardo Patrese's Brabham.
When victory looked to be his, Patrese spun with just a lap and a half to go, allowing Didier Prioni's Ferrari to take the lead. However, on the last lap Pironi ran out of fuel in the tunnel, which meant victory for the Alfa Romeo of Andrea de Cesaris who was second. But he also ran out of fuel, costing him his first F1 win and, surprisingly, handed the lead back to Riccardo Patrese, who managed to sprint past the Brabham to secure his first victory in the sport.
Murray Walker's commentator at the time, the legendary James Hunt, said during the broadcast: "We're sitting on the start/finish line waiting for a winner to come out and it looks like we're not going to get one."
This was the perfect summary for one of the strangest and most epic races ever seen in Formula 1 history.
Do you agree with this list? Which Monaco Grand Prix is your favourite? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Winner: Max Verstappen
Verstappen delivered one of the all-time great performances in qualifying, finding three tenths of a second in Monte Carlo's short final sector to take a stunning pole position.