For the first time this season we have back-to-back racing weeks in Formula 1. After a surprisingly fun Spanish Grand Prix the series shifts to perhaps the most iconic track in the sport in Monaco. It’s an amazing looking circuit although the racing there can leave a lot to be desired in terms of excitement.
Last Time Out
I took a week off from previewing the races last week because I wasn’t certain what to expect in Spain and it was a fascinating race. Like Monaco, albeit for different reasons, the Barcelona circuit is known for a history of uninteresting races, but that wasn’t the case here. It looked like it was going to be uneventful with Charles Leclerc running away with the race, but Leclerc suffered a power failure with a huge lead and was the first driver to bow out. It was extra disastrous for Ferrari as Red Bull finished 1-2 with Max Verstappen winning ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez who was none too pleased he was asked to yield the race lead to his teammate. Verstappen took a six point lead in the Driver’s Championship standings with Red Bull taking a 26 point lead in the Constructor’s Championship standings.
The other notable development is a welcomed one for anyone hoping the top of the grid might see more intrigue this year as Mercedes had its best weekend of the year. The cars were fast and the performance was good. George Russell finished third and Lewis Hamilton overcame a first-lap collision with Kevin Magnussen to finish fifth. The data suggests that Hamilton had enough speed to contend for the win had he not been behind the eight ball so to speak so early in the race.
Circuit De Monaco
3.337 KM, 78 laps, 19 turns
Contested every year since 1955 except for in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Monaco GP is arguably the signature event of the Formula 1 season. The circuit is known for being twisty and extremely narrow. As the cars have gotten wider over the years it has made the race less exciting as overtaking is practically impossible at most spots on the track. Last year’s face featured zero overtakes after the opening lap and the race has averaged just 10 overtakes the last decade. Nevertheless, it’s still a breathtaking watch on television in one of the most scenic locales in the sport. The future of the race is in doubt. The contract with F1 is up after this season and if Monaco isn’t willing to pony up the money to keep a race there it could be gone from the schedule.
This race should be one in which Ferrari excels. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were dominant in free practice two which is the session that mostly closely mimics qualifying. Leclerc led FP2 and was almost four tenths faster than the Red Bull cars. That said, Monaco native Charles Leclerc has had a bit of a cursed history here. In five previous races in F1 and F2 he’s never finished his home race. He got the pole position last year, but crashed his car in Q3. Ferrari thought they had fixed the problem, but detected a problem with the gearbox prior to the start of the race and Leclerc was unable to compete in the race. In a weird twist, Leclerc also wrecked Niki Lauda’s old F1 car in a drive around the circuit a couple of weeks ago, although that wasn’t his fault. There’s also between a 70-80 percent chance of rain in Monaco on Sunday which could make things extra dicey.
Leclerc is a massive favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook where he’s -150 currently. If you want to bet him to win, head to BetRivers where’s currently -112 which is the best current price at any of the legal books. There may be a little bit of value on Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz in case something were to happen to Leclerc during the race, but if they’re both on track it’s hard to imagine Ferrari letting Sainz win the race similar to what happened with the Red Bull cars last weekend. If you trust that something is going to happen to Leclerc and just like plus money Max Verstappen bets, he’s +270 at FanDuel which is the best price you’re going to get. Follow me on Twitter @ReallyDanWeiner for more bets as the weekend progresses.