Monaco Grand Prix preview

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.48.53 by JACK PRENTICE

There’s nothing quite like the glitz and glamour of the streets of Monte Carlo on the Formula One calendar.

Set to coincide with the Cannes film festival, this is the only event of the year where drivers get to rub shoulders with the rich, famous and beautiful of the film industry.

But Monaco can often set a drama that not even Steven Spielberg or Danny Boyle could write. Take Olivier Panis’ win for Ligier in 1996 in which only three drivers completed the race for example.

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Panis’ win in 1996 was Ligier’s only F1 victory. (Image credit: Crash Net).

Mind you, it would have to go some way to beating the story from the Spanish Grand Prix almost two weeks ago, where Max Verstappen – in his first race for Red Bull – won his first ever Grand Prix.

At 18, the Dutch sensation wasn’t a twinkle in his father Jos’ eye when he retired on lap 1 in that famous Monaco race in 1996.

And that was just the start for Red Bull.

Just two days after that, Renault tested an engine upgrade that has seen gains of half a second per lap, and Daniel Ricciardo has that very upgrade in his Red Bull.

That could very well put them ahead of Ferrari, and Monaco is a track that suits the Red Bull chassis more than any other in the paddock.

That increases the pressure on what is a tense Mercedes team.

Red Bull’s win in Catalunya was in no small part thanks to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg taking each other out at turn four on the very first lap of the race.

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Max Verstappen is the youngest ever winner of a Formula One grand prix following his victory in Spain earlier this month. (Image Credit: Motorsport.com)

Monaco is a place where it has boiled over before with Hamilton and Rosberg, as the German parked his car up at the Mirabeau corner in 2014 to ensure pole position.

The form guide is certainly with the Championship leader, who has won four of the five races this season.

Rosberg has won the last three races here, after a botched strategy call from Mercedes and Hamilton in 2015 cost the Brit a certain victory.

2016 marks two years since Jules Bianchi’s famous ninth place as he gained Marussia (Now Manor) their first ever points since the team formed in 2010.

Tragically, Bianchi died in July last year following horrific brain injuries suffered in a sickening, and avoidable, accident at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, where in awful conditions his car aquaplaned and crashed into a crane that was recovering the stricken Sauber of Adrian Sutil.

Close friend Romain Grosjean is wearing a tribute helmet to the fallen Frenchman, while drivers across the paddock have commemorated that weekend.

Bianchi’s family earlier announced they are taking legal action against Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management (FOM), the FIA and Marussia for the crash, for which no one yet has taken responsibility.

Everyone connected with racing wants answers as to why this tragedy was allowed to happen.

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