Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, Sunday, 28.05.2023
It is arguably one of the most glamorous and prestigious places where Formula 1 sets up its paddock once a year.
We’re talking, of course, about the Monaco GP, which has been on the racing calendar for some of the longest.
However, it could also be the last races on the street circuit, as no agreement has yet been reached beyond 2025.
Until then, however, the lights will go out at least three more times in the Principality. This year, too, the coming race weekend is eagerly awaited.
Besides wild change rumours in the paddock of Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton, fans should also look forward to some updates, especially from Mercedes.
In the battle for the world championship, the Silver Arrows are breaking new ground to attack world championship leader Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman is also the bookmakers’ favourite to win the race in Monte Carlo with odds of around 2.10.
Nevertheless, the last races already showed that Sergio Perez is considered a potential rival.
Since overtaking is almost impossible in Monaco, but qualifying showed that Aston Martin and Ferrari can definitely keep up, I expect a close three-way battle in my Monaco GP forecast.
You can read why I am betting on a narrow victory on race day in my analysis.
Has the Silly Season already started? It seems, given the wild rumours of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari and Charles Leclerc’s to Mercedes, that the world championship fight is not the most important issue.
For the standings are the same as last year. Red Bull dominates, doesn’t seem to have any problems and also always drove away from the competition in the last races.
The dominance seems so overwhelming that bookmakers like Bwin Sportwetten are already offering bets with Verstappen winning by 10 seconds. However, the odds are also set very high at around 6.00.
In contrast, the bookies consider Verstappen much more likely to be the new world champion with around 1.11 in the World Cup betting tips.
The Dutchman is also the first choice for Monaco GP victory bets. Nevertheless, Red Bull is stacking the deck very low ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Due to the track characteristics, the RB19 does not have the same advantage as on other tracks, according to sporting director Helmut Marko.
In addition, tyre wear is not such a big issue, which in turn puts Ferrari on the map. The Scuderia is faster than Red Bull, especially in the slow corners, of which there are many in Monaco.
Due to the many corners and no long straights, Red Bull will also not really be able to use its speed advantage. Therefore, this traditional race promises more excitement than the Grand Prix before it.
This weekend is particularly special for Charles Leclerc. For the Monegasque has been haunted by a curse for years.
Leclerc has never been able to win in the Principality and, with odds of around 11.0, is not the absolute favourite to win the race at the bookmakers this weekend either.
Nevertheless, Verstappen also believes that Ferrari and especially Aston Martin, who are also serious contenders, will be closer to Red Bull and may have a chance.
In the middle of qualifying, it also looked as if Red Bull were relinquishing pole again, with Alonso securing it a few minutes before the end of Q3.
In the final sector, however, the Red Bull showed its speed, so Verstappen ended up grabbing his first pole in Monaco.
Behind him, Alonso will start the race from P2, followed by Leclerc, who has never finished on the podium in Monaco.
Mercedes, on the other hand, who had travelled to Monaco with big updates, ended up in midfield in P6 and P8 after Hamilton’s crash in the third practice session.
In general, qualifying showed that the smallest mistakes are punished harshly. In Q1, Perez was caught out by a crash with the barrier that brought out a red flag.
Later, Norris also lost control of his car, which is why I expect a few retirements in this race.
This is also the assumption of bookies like Bwin Sportwetten, which offer very low odds for the use of the safety car, but a somewhat higher value of around 1.90 for the retirement of at least four cars.
The last 5 races at the Circuit de Monaco:
However, the value is a little higher because there are not many overtaking manoeuvres in the race and therefore the Monaco GP is labelled as one of the most boring races by critics.
At least Red Bull has had its fun in the past. Both in 2021 and last year, the Bulls won.
The ungrateful second place, on the other hand, has always been reserved for the Scuderia in the last five years.
However, it was not Leclerc who stood on the podium, but team-mate Carlos Sainz twice in a row. This year, the Monegasque’s chances are relatively good due to the track, should he not retire or be set back by a pit stop error.
Conclusion and Prediciton: Even though Ferrari and Aston Martin have no disadvantage over Red Bull at the Circuit de Monaco due to the slow corners and few high-speed straights, I still believe that Verstappen and Co. show no weakness.
The car is perfectly set up, so the battle for the championship is more between the teams than between the teams.
For sure the field will get closer together and especially the QF showed with several lead changes that especially Aston Martin is a serious competitor.
With Ferrari also fancying some chances with Leclerc from P3, I think Red Bull will have to fight for the race win.
I think it will be a neck-and-neck race where nuances will decide and I don’t rule out a surprise.
So my Monaco GP tip is: I think it will be a very close race with the winner winning by only 5-10 seconds