2021 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix Preview

This weekend will see Formula 1 return to racing around the streets of Monte-Carlo, having had to cancel the 2020 edition of the race due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The series is also set to be joined by Formula 2.

Monaco represents the second venue that Formula 2 is currently due to visit this season. The series having last been in action back in late March in Bahrain.

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Guanyu Zhou enters the weekend leading the championship, 11 points ahead of series rookie Liam Lawson with Jehan Daruvala completing the top three in the championship. The Indian driver is only two points behind Lawson and has a seven point gap over fourth placed Oscar Piastri, another rookie in the series.

Lawson and Piastri made an impressive start to their time in Formula 2 in Bahrain with both managing to secure a race victory across the three races contested in the season opener. Both also secured an additional points finish across the three races in Sakhir.

It will be interesting to follow Formula 2 during the weekend. Monaco may be a very narrow circuit but despite this the series has a tendency to still produce some exciting racing. Added to this is seeing how the new for 2021 race format impacts the racing this weekend, and whether it is deemed to have helped, or hindered, creating close racing.

Monaco” by Edward Weston is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

For Formula 1 the Monaco Grand Prix is the fifth round of its 2021 season. Lewis Hamilton enters the weekend with a 14 point advantage over second placed Max Verstappen.

The two have occupied the top two positions in all the races contested so far this season. Many will be expecting something similar this weekend and it is worth remembering that the two did duel around Monaco in 2019. Although it is also worth mentioning that Verstappen ended up taking a five second penalty for an unsafe release when he pitted during the race, resulting in the Dutchman being classified fourth despite finishing second on the road.

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Third in the championship is the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas who is 33 points behind Verstappen and six ahead of fourth placed Lando Norris. The Finn having finish no higher or lower, outside of retirements, than third so far in 2021.

Despite the relatively small gap between Bottas and Norris in the championship, the focus for the latter is likely to be more on the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque enters his home race one point behind Norris in the standings, having finished ahead of the Briton in a race for the first time in 2021 last time out in Spain.

Eight points behind Leclerc is Sergio Perez, the Mexican having finished inside the top five in three of the opening four races of the season. Despite this Perez has come under some scrutiny after he was unable to support teammate Verstappen during the race prior to this weekend in Spain. Part of the reason for this was his difficult qualifying which will be important to get right in Monaco due to the very narrow nature of the circuit, which makes overtaking a big challenge for the current Formula 1 cars.

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In the Constructors’ Championship Mercedes leads Red Bull by 29 points. There is then a 47 point gap between Red Bull and third placed McLaren.

The biggest battle in the Constructors’ Championship currently is between McLaren and Ferrari over third. The two have been very close together so far this season and enter the Monaco Grand Prix separated by just five points.

Behind McLaren and Ferrari is Alpine who, despite a decent run of form over the last two Grand Prix, find themselves 45 points adrift of fourth placed Ferrari heading into this weekend. Alpine’s nearest rival is AlphaTauri, with five points separating the two.

There is then a five point gap separating AlphaTauri and Aston Martin, the latter being the last of the 10 teams to have scored points so far this season. It therefore means five points behind Aston Martin are the trio of Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas.

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With the nature of the circuit in Monaco it is unlikely that track limits, a hot topic so far in 2021, will be too much of an issue this weekend. A more pressing concern, as highlighted earlier about the 2019 race, is that of a team being deemed to have released a car dangerously during a pit stop, which could incur a time penalty.

This weekend may not be the best in terms of the on track entertainment but it will nonetheless see another intriguing chapter be written in the 2021 season for both Formula 2 and Formula 1.

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