Our top 3 memorable Monaco moments

22/05/2019
by Laura Sexton

Although it’s been near impossible to choose only three, we’ve picked out our top memorable moments and races in Monte Carlo.

The Monaco Grand Prix is rarely short of drama, and with the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2019 weekend ahead, we focus on three moments that have caused excitement and controversy over the years.

 1. Schumacher gets banished to the backThe 2006 Monaco Grand Prix weekend was controversial to say the least, and it all began when Qualifying was brought to a halt rather unexpectedly.

After setting the fastest lap, Michael Schumacher parked his Ferrari at La Rascasse, meaning all other cars on the track had to slow for the parked car, unable to set their own fast laps. 

Despite holding provisional pole, Schumacher was in no way unthreatened. Fernando Alonso was leading the championship with three wins and three second places already in the bag. As Schumacher parked his car, Alonso was on a flying lap which would have beaten the German’s time had it been completed. But unfortunately, the Spaniard never got to complete his lap, as yellow flags meant all other drivers on the track had to abandon their laps.

Despite defending himself and suggesting the stop had been a mistake, others were not so convinced. The stewards investigated and concluded that the move was a deliberate means to stop his rival from taking pole - pole being hugely important at Monaco as the race itself does not offer many opportunities to overtake.

The careless parking saw Schumacher banished to the back of the grid for the race, meaning Alonso ended up on pole and went on to win the race too.

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 2. Lewis wins dramatic rain-drenched race

Lewis Hamilton may now be a five-time world champion but back in 2008 he was only working on his first. And the Monaco Grand Prix that year has to be one of our favourite wins of his. However, it wasn’t the easiest drive for the Brit, with many incidents, overtakes and weather issues.

It was Brazilian driver Felipe Massa in one of the Ferraris that started on pole position, with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen in second; meanwhile Hamilton started in third place. However, early in the race Hamilton hit the barrier at Tabac and had to pit, meanwhile Massa began to build a large lead over his opponents as he set off in search of the chequered flag. It was a wet race which resulted in many crashes including one involving David Coulthard and Sebastian Bourdais which brought out a safety car.

After which, Massa’s lead began to diminish and by this point Robert Kubica in the Sauber BMW was behind Massa. The pair battled it out amongst themselves for first place, swapping positions multiple times, which saw Massa run wide allowing Kubica past. But there was a bigger threat behind – Hamilton. Due to the rain and a mix of pitstops, Hamilton managed to overtake both drivers in front. Having put on the right tyres at the right time, he and the team were in a winning position. Hamilton then started to pull away and created a long enough lead to be able to pit once more for dry tyres, as the rain dried up. Another crash, this time involving Nico Rosberg was cause for a second safety car, but despite this, Hamilton still went on to win the race ahead of Kubica and Massa.

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 3. Senna hands the win to Prost Throwing it back now to 1988, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna who claimed the title of the ‘King of Monaco’ during his reign in F1 due to winning the race six times including five consecutive wins. However, we are going to talk about the year Senna didn’t win. 

It began with Senna setting an incredible qualifying lap which was around 1.4 seconds faster than his teammate Prost who qualified in second place. 

As the race kicked off, Senna disappeared off into the horizon meanwhile Prost lost his position to Ferrari's Gerhard Berger.
With the circuit being so difficult to overtake round, Alain Prost fought hard for 54 laps, eventually gaining his second place back, however his teammate Senna was so far in the distance - almost a minute ahead - it was looking likely that Prost would finish behind. 

However, no one expected such a twist. With 11 laps to go, McLaren radioed Senna, telling him to slow down and make sure the team got a 1-2 finish. Having agreed to this, Senna then crashed his car on lap 65, practically handing his teammate (and rival) Prost the win and unfortunately destroying the team’s hopes of a 1-2 finish.

Having been so strong the whole weekend, Senna’s mishap proved how easy it is to throw away a win and how unpredictable a race around the Monte Carlo circuit can be.

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And we have to mention these…

With so many exciting moments throughout the Monte Carlo circuit’s history, we wanted to give a few more notable mentions.
At the Monaco Grand Prix in 1950, a wave from the harbour flooded part of the track at Tabac corner which resulted in a pile up, eliminating ten cars from the race.
In 1982 the final laps of the race were edging on unbelievable. Prost crashed out, with Riccardo Patrese then taking the lead before he spun his car. This left Didier Pironi in the lead; however, this was short lived as he ran out of fuel before his successor Andrea de Cesaris also ran out of fuel. Having managed to recover from his spin, Patrese ended up crossing the line in first place.
In 1984, Senna drove a less competitive Toleman car and started from 13th of the grid, for what was an extremely wet race. He managed, however, to claw his way through the pack, revealing his skills at driving in the rain. He ended up closing in on Alain Prost. However, despite getting past Prost, the race was stopped due to the weather, and the result was taken from the previous lap, in which Prost lead and Senna was second.

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Monaco Grand Prix wins that left everyone talking

15/05/2019
by Laura Sexton

With the FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE MONACO 2019 just around the corner, we take a trip down memory lane to look at some of the most memorable wins at the Monte Carlo circuit.

Monaco may be famed for its glamourous culture, but the Grand Prix has historical significance too. The race was part of the pre-Second World War European Championship with its first race held in 1929 before it joined the World Championship of Drivers in 1950.

Since then it’s seen many different winners and thrilling moments. Here are just some of our favourites.

Ayrton Senna - the King of Monaco

As the most successful driver around the Monaco circuit to date, we simply had to mention Ayrton Senna. Winning the Monaco Grand Prix six times during his career, including five consecutive wins from 1989 to 1993, you cannot say one without thinking of the other.

In 1992, we saw one of his greatest victories at the circuit, driving for McLaren. Qualifying in third position on a track which is notorious for its lack of space to overtake, Senna was able to move himself up into second place before the first corner, getting past the Williams of Riccardo Patrese. 

Racing behind his rival Nigel Mansell in the other Williams, who was revealing great pace, Senna held tight throughout the race, keeping close to the man in front. When Mansell unfortunately suffered car issues and had to pit, Ayrton managed to overtake Mansell. Despite Mansell catching up, the difficult circuit meant that the driver was unable to take back the lead. Ayrton Senna took his 5th win at Monaco in this year.

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Jenson Button’s sprint to the finish

In 2009 it was Jenson Button's turn to win the race which is renowned as being one of tracks all drivers want to win at during their career. The drive for the Brit had been as stress-free as you could get on a circuit such as Monaco. With his team Brawn playing their cards right and choosing the super-soft tyre despite other drivers having trouble with them, by the last couple of laps Button had a big enough lead that he was able to cruise to the finish line.

However, this win was made more memorable for what happened after the race. At Monaco, the top three drivers are supposed to park their cars in front of the Royal Box but, distracted by winning, Button parked his car in the pits. Knowing he was needed at the Royal Box, where Prince Albert awaited, Jenson had to jump out of his race car and was seen sprinting down the start-finish straight, waving as his fans looked on.

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Nico Rosberg wins three on the trot

German driver Nico Rosberg is among a handful of drivers to be able to score back to back wins at the Monte Carlo circuit, winning three Monaco Grand Prix races between 2013 and 2015 for his team, Mercedes AMG Petronas.
The 2013 Monaco Grand Prix was possibly one of the most dramatic we've seen in recent years. During which, Rosberg managed to avoid conflict taking place in abundance further down the field – which resulted in two safety car periods and a red flag after two big incidents – to win the race.

His 2015 win was dramatic for different reasons and has been likened to that of Senna's win in 1992. It was his teammate Lewis Hamilton who was leading the race, but after the team decided to pit Hamilton and keep Rosberg out on older tyres, Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel were both able to finish ahead of him. Despite running on fresher tyres, the tight circuit meant that Lewis was in no position to take the places back and finished in third place. Rosberg took his third Monaco win of his career.

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Daniel Ricciardo gets the win he deserved

In 2016 the Australian Red Bull driver suffered heartbreak in Monaco as his first place was snatched from him after a pitstop mishap. Qualifying on pole position after a flying lap, Ricciardo set himself up for what could have been the perfect race. 

When Red Bull decided to pit Ricciardo, they expected Mercedes to follow but instead they left Hamilton out until lap 31 so he could go for slick tyres. This meant Lewis took the lead and despite Ricciardo catching him up, both pitted for a second time. Unfortunately, this pitstop did not go according to plan for Red Bull, with it taking nine seconds and costing the driver the win.

Nevertheless in 2018, Ricciardo was able to finally claim his Monaco Grand Prix win. It was no easy race however, with many challenges to factor in from threats from the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel behind, to power issues. Instructed to only use six gears, the driver was told to keep going despite the problem, which on any other circuit could have meant retiring the car. The nature of the track meant that despite this and the approaching Ferrari, Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo were able to cross the chequered flag in first place.

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Our top 3 unforgettable moments at the Spanish Grand Prix

09/05/2019
by Laura Sexton

With the FORMULA 1 EMIRATES GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2019 fast approaching, we look back at three of the sports most iconic moments at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

With its maiden race back in 1991, which saw Nigel Mansell battle it out with Ayrton Senna, this year marks the 28th Formula 1® race to take place at the circuit in Barcelona. Since then we’ve seen a variety of different winners, a multitude of thrilling battles, and plenty of unpredicted outcomes. But which moments go down in our books as some of the best?

 

1. Alonso wins his home grand prix for the first time

Being the only Spaniard to ever win a FIA Formula One World Championship™ (in fact two) as well as earning himself 97 of Spain's 99 podiums, Fernando Alonso will go down in F1 history as one of the best talents the sport has seen.

After winning his first FIA Formula One World Championship™ in 2005, Alonso then went on to win the Spanish Grand Prix in 2006 driving for Renault making him the first countryman to win on home turf, ahead of taking his second championship title that year.

Winning by a huge margin of 18.502 seconds over Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher, the Spaniard lead the race from pole position, only giving up his lead temporarily while pitting. Despite being a relatively steady win for the Spaniard, other drivers didn't have the same composure during the race with Montoya spinning on lap 18 and Fisichella hitting the gravel on lap 26.

The win marked his third of the season and 11th career win and what’s more, he achieved it in front of home crowds. Alonso went on to win again at his home Grand Prix in 2013, marking his final career win in Formula 1®.

You can shop our Alonso collection from race-used gear including his 2013 helmet, to replica suits and scale model helmets on our online store.

2. Max wins in debut drive for Red Bull and breaks record

After a change in the driver line up for Red Bull and Toro Rosso in 2016 with Daniil Kvyat swapping places with Max Verstappen, crowds and audiences across the globe were anticipating what the young Dutch talent could bring to the team, but no one was expecting success so soon.

With both Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg colliding on the first lap, it opened opportunities for the other teams and drivers. Max qualified in 4th position behind his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, ahead of both Ferrari drivers.

This meant there was a thrilling battle at hand between both Red Bulls and Ferraris, with different strategies playing out among the four racing drivers. Verstappen was on a two-stop strategy, but regardless of Kimi Räikkönen keeping close on his heels (in the end finishing only 0.616 seconds behind) and adding pressure, the young driver was able to keep him at bay.

Despite winning the race, it was his Australian teammate who lead the majority of the race, but after the team offered him a three-stop strategy and Max and two-stop, it proved crucial in who would then reign supreme.

Not only did Verstappen win in his debut drive for Red Bull but he broke the record for the youngest ever F1 winner in history.

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3. Maldonado claims unexpected victory

The 2012 season kick started as every F1 fan’s dream, with seven different winners in the first seven races, halting the continuity that so many seasons follow where one or two teams dominate from the start. Spain, the fifth race on the calendar, did not fail to bring unforeseen excitement.

Starting from pole, after McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton received a grid penalty, the Venezuelan Williams driver Pastor Maldonado was quickly overtaken by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso before turn 1, making a win for the driver appear less probable. However, despite only being his second season in F1, he proved fans wrong and with the team’s carefully timed pitstop, was able to effectively undercut the experienced Spanish driver and extend his lead.

The extraordinary race win was both significant for Maldonado and for Williams – it was the driver’s only win and pole position in F1 to date and it marked the team’s first win since 2004 and has been their most recent victory.

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