It’s time for Formula 1’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’ as the sport prepares for the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.
The streets of the principality will provide the biggest threat yet to the domination of Mercedes, who continued their perfect start to 2019 with a fifth one-two in Spain.
Victory for Lewis Hamilton over teammate Valtteri Bottas also moved him back to the top of the Drivers’ standings by seven points, with the rest looking on from afar.
Monaco has the ability to change all that, though. So who will reign supreme on the Cote D’Azur on Sunday?
About the race
2019 marks a big anniversary for F1’s most famous race as this is the 90th anniversary of the first Grand Prix organized by Anthony Noughes.
In that time, the tight and twisty streets have built a reputation like no other, earning the Monaco GP a place as part of motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’.
It was a part of the very first F1 championship in 1950 although didn’t become a full-time part of the calendar until 1955.
Throughout the decades, however, all the greats have won including Sir Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda, Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost.
Three drivers stand out more, however, with Michael Schumacher and ‘Mr. Monaco’ Graham Hill both five-time winners but it’s Ayrton Senna who stands atop with six victories to his name.
In recent years, this race has typically been one of the bigger possible stumbling blocks for Mercedes but only the best two seasons have they been beaten.
Nico Rosberg won three straight times in Monte Carlo from 2013-2015 with Lewis Hamilton dramatically beating Daniel Ricciardo in the wet in 2016.
Both of the five-time champion’s successes have come in rain-affected races with the Briton also winning the 2008 Grand Prix for McLaren.
In 2017, it was Ferrari who dominated with Sebastian Vettel taking the checkered flag to give the Italian team their first win in Monaco since 2001.
While last year, it was Ricciardo who got redemption for his 2016 disappointment with Red Bull, holding off the pack despite losing the ERS part of the engine for much of the race.
So who should you include in your daily fantasy team for this weekend? Here are our picks.
High-priced: Mercedes ($32.5m)
Another race and another weekend when anyone other than Mercedes leading appears highly unlikely.
While it is true that circuits like Monaco have been their big weakness that has not been the case in 2019 and in fact, their performance in slow corners is better than any of their rivals.
As a result, it will require either a brilliant moment from Max Verstappen or a mistake to likely stop Hamilton and Bottas claiming yet another 1-2.
Mid-range pick: Daniel Ricciardo ($11.6m)
Arguably the most impressive driver around Monaco in recent years, Ricciardo will certainly hope to be leading the midfield for Renault this year.
His commitment around the streets is second to none, the only question is if his car will give him the confidence as recent Red Bull’s did.
But on a chassis-dependent circuit, it should also play into Renault’s hands.
Value pick: Alex Albon ($6.4m)
Toro Rosso has enjoyed great results in Monaco in recent years and there’s no reason why 2019 won’t be any different.
Given Mercedes is our constructor pick though, we have opted for Alex Albon who has been the most impressive of the two drivers so far.
Max Verstappen ($24.9m)
Monaco hasn’t always been kind to Verstappen, who has crashed out in two of his four previous races there.
Last year though, it was an accident in final practice which triggered a change in the Dutchman’s approach and has seen him become one of the most consistent drivers on the grid.
Therefore, if anyone can produce a challenge to Mercedes this weekend, it might just be Max.
Carlos Sainz ($7.9m)
A dark horse in the midfield this weekend is McLaren when assessing the likely strength of their rivals.
And with experience counting for a lot, Sainz might just be a driver that can spring a surprise in the top 10.
On a weekend where cars will be whizzing past casinos, why not test your luck over at PlayON?