Welcome back, old friend.
The Monaco Grand Prix returns this weekend. And, while all grands prix are special, Monaco’s absence last season was the most glaring and gut-wrenching omission from the calendar in a year when we were all forced to forgo so much. It was as if a thief had stolen the jewel in the crown of our beloved sport – not under the cover of darkness but in broad daylight, right in front of our very eyes – and we were powerless to stop it. Mercifully, the jewel has been returned to its rightful place and it’s ready to shine brighter than ever before. We’re all set for F1’s most exhilarating ride, where success requires the ultimate synergy between driver and machine, and a little good fortune.
They say the latter favours the brave – something we’ve never been short of at McLaren. And, this weekend, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will race on the streets of the Principality in the storied colours of our partner Gulf Oil International. That bold combination of orange and blue: sharp enough to cut through the noise; cool enough to walk with kings.
To get you up to speed for one of the biggest weekends of the year, look no further than our race preview where you can hear from Lando, Daniel and McLaren F1 Team Principal Andreas Seidl, and discover how you can get your own personal piece of McLaren X Gulf action with a new merchandise collection and some jaw-dropping competitions.
How to follow
|Where||Circuit de Monaco|
|When||20 - 23 May|
|Start time||15:00 local, 14:00 BST, 09:00 EDT|
|Follow||TEAMStream and the McLaren App for exclusive commentary and insight|
What they say
“I’m very excited to go racing in Monaco again, it’s an awesome track with a lot of history, and one of the most challenging circuits in Formula 1. It’s also really cool to be racing there in Gulf colours and to be writing history with the team. The blue and the orange work really well together on a race car and I think the fans are going to love seeing it racing around the streets of Monaco. I’ll also be running a special race helmet for the weekend, inspired by Gulf’s iconic colours, so keep your eyes peeled for that too.
“It’s been a strong start to the season for me personally, but also for the team. We’re up against strong competition in both the Drivers and Constructors’ Championships, so we’re working hard to extract every bit of performance we can. We know that Monaco is going to be a tricky weekend, with so much riding on qualifying, but we’ll be giving it our all to start the weekend well on Thursday and score some decent points come Sunday.”
“I was already excited about going racing again in Monaco, but to be racing in Gulf colours for the weekend just raises the level of excitement even further. I’ve even got a custom retro helmet to match the entire theme of the team this weekend.
“Monaco is my favourite circuit on the calendar, and I really missed driving there last year. It’s such a unique place to drive and as F1 drivers we’re incredibly lucky to get the opportunity to race there. It's not like any other circuit in the world where you can turn up for a track day and drive, you have the Monaco Grand Prix and support events and that’s it. So, I’m incredibly excited to be going back, we’ve been deprived of that place for nearly two years.
“We’ve been making a lot of progress over the last few races, and I think that really showed in Spain. I’m really starting to get to grips with the car and build my confidence. We know we’ll have our work cut out for us in Monaco, given how important qualifying is and how close we are to the competition, but we’ll give it our all and try to bring home some solid points for the team.”
“After a close and exciting start to the season, we’re looking forward to returning to Monaco for the first time since 2019. We all missed this iconic street circuit last year, and the entire team is excited to be back racing in the principality once again. This weekend we’ll be running an incredible one-off livery in partnership with Gulf Oil International. The Gulf racing blue and fluro orange marks a significant departure from our usual livery, and I'm sure the fans are going to love seeing it out on track. A big thank you to all of those in our team that have worked so hard to make this exciting activity a reality alongside their regular duties.
“Monaco is a very exciting and challenging track on the calendar and poses a unique challenge in Formula 1. The team, as always, will be focused on our performance and operational execution. We must be ready to take every opportunity to score good points whenever we can. We’ve been able to achieve that at every race so far, with both drivers scoring points at each grand prix. We’re ready for the fight and another exciting weekend of racing.”
What the stats say
Monaco has been a very happy hunting ground for McLaren. Since we made our F1 debut at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, we’ve won this prestigious race 15 times. On five occasions Ayrton Senna was behind the wheel: he was masterful here and his tally of six victories – one more than ‘Mr Monaco’ himself Graham Hill – remains unmatched to this day. Alain Prost scored our first Monaco win in 1984 and would go on to win the race a further three times with us, while our most recent victory came in 2008 with Lewis Hamilton.
Like, all those greats, our man Daniel knows what it takes to win here, having won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2018 – and he tasted victory in 2010 and 2011 in Formula Renault 3.5. The Monegasque silverware doesn’t stop there though for Daniel, he’s also got a brace of third-place finishes to his name and he finished second in the race in 2016. Lando just missed out on a points finish the last time we raced at the Principality but he’s no stranger to the podium here either, having bagged third in the 2018 Formula 2 sprint race. Along with Daniel, he’ll be looking to finish in the points this weekend to ensure we remain the only team to record a double-points finish in every race so far this season.
What to watch out for
To all the regular readers of our race previews, we appreciate we might sound like a bit of a broken record when we say qualifying is going to be really important this weekend – we said a similar thing for the Emilia Romagna and Spanish Grands Prix – but on the tight, twisty streets of Monaco, it really does matter. Saturday is likely to have a huge bearing on the race, along with strategy, as it’s very hard to pass here.
Being quick at Monaco is as much about good performance in the slow-speed corners and great traction out of them, as it is confidence. If a driver is feeling comfortable behind the wheel here it can be worth a chunk of laptime. With both free practice sessions reduced to one hour this season, drivers will have even less time to get in the groove before the business end of the weekend and no one is going to want to lose out on any precious track time due to reliability problems or contact with the barriers. In F1, the margins between success and failure are always incredibly fine, but at Monaco they’re even smaller.
What to wear
As paradoxical as it might sound, truly great fashion is timeless. It’s unbelievably difficult to create something that is perennially stylish though, but Gulf’s racing blue and fluro orange combination is just that. This iconic colourway has transcended the world of motorsport and, as part of the celebration of our historic partnership with Gulf Oil International, we’ve created the McLaren X Gulf Collection. It features polo shirts, T-shirts, caps and hoodies that are all certain to bring you a couple of steps closer to the ‘King of Cool’, Steve McQueen, in the style stakes.
So, in case you hadn’t already realised, this week is a big week for us and a big week needs big competitions with epic prizes. We’ve got not one, not two, but three competitions coming your way. What are these epic prizes we speak of? Well, we’re talking Lando and Daniel’s one-off Gulf race suits from this weekend. Oh, and they’re going to sign them too. That’s not all, their helmets are going to be up for grabs as well – and yep, they’re also going to be signed. To be ready to enter as soon as the competitions go live later this week, all you need to do is sign up to McLaren Plus using the form below.
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