The next round of the 2014 Formula 1 season takes place around the streets of Monte Carlo. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the sport’s most glamorous and iconic race:
Behind Monza, the Circuit de Monaco is the second most visited in F1 history. It made its debut on the Formula 1 calendar in the championship’s inaugural season in 1950, before becoming a permanent fixture to the schedule in 1955. This year’s event will be the 61st Monaco Grand Prix.
As the track is completely made up of public roads, it is a temporary facility that takes 250 workers six weeks to construct before a race weekend, and three weeks to dismantle afterwards. 33 kilometres of safety barriers, 20,000 square metres of catch fencing and 3600 tyres for barriers are installed each year.
Ayrton Senna holds the record for the most wins around the Circuit de Monaco – which is often regarded as the true test of a driver’s skills. The Brazilian took his first Monaco Grand Prix triumph in 1987 before taking five consecutive victories between 1989 and 1993.
Graham Hill was nicknamed 'Mr Monaco' and both he and Michael Schumacher stood on the top step of the podium five times. From the current grid, only Fernando Alonso has won the race more than once (2006 and 2007), while Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg have all taken one victory each.
McLaren is the most successful Monaco Grand Prix constructor. The Woking-based outfit has had one of its drivers on the top step of the iconic podium 15 times, six more than Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton's maiden Monaco triumph in 2008 was McLaren's most recent victory around the narrow streets.
From the 22 drivers on the current F1 grid, one has never raced around the Circuit de Monaco. Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat has never even been to the principality. It will certainly be a challenging race for the Russian, particularly with the less grippy 2014-spec cars and the unforgiving barriers.
On the other end of the scale, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso will both be starting their 13th Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.
The sport’s most prestigious race is also the shortest on the F1 calendar. 78 laps of the 2.075 mile circuit is a total distance of 161.887 miles, considerably under the FIA’s mandated 190 mile minimum figure. But it is Monaco, so it gets away with it.
The Circuit de Monaco, of course, includes the famous tunnel that runs under the Fairmont Hotel. It is one of just three tracks in the sport’s history to contain such a feature, with the Detroit street circuit (which hosted the Detroit Grand Prix between 1982 and 1988) and the Yas Marina Circuit (the current home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009) being the other two.
Every corner on the track is iconic and the layout has remained largely unchanged since it first hosted a Formula 1 race. One of the most well-known turns is the Fairmont hairpin (formerly known as the Grand Hotel hairpin and the Loews hairpin). It is the slowest corner on the F1 calendar - it was taken last year at just 30mph - and is also the tightest, with drivers having to use full steering lock.
After the race, the driver’s don’t take to the steps of the podium. Instead, they take to royal box of Prince Albert II, who then presents the winning driver with his trophy. The top three finishers have to park their cars on the pit straight. Jenson Button forgot this after emerging victorious in 2009. He parked his car in the pit lane at parc ferme and had to run down the straight to collect his trophy.
There is no denying that overtaking is very tricky around the Monte Carlo streets, but scoring pole position isn’t as important as you might think. 27 drivers from the past 60 Monaco grands prix have won the race from first on the grid.
Lewis Hamilton was the last driver to win without starting from pole, after lining up for the 2008 race in third place. The lowest grid position for a Monaco Grand Prix victor was 14th for Olivier Panis in 1996.