Racing cars have been careering around the streets of the Principality since the late 1920s and the Monaco GP is now a world-famous sporting event

It seems like the least natural fit in the world – a selection of the world's fastest and most skilled drivers let loose around the sinuous streets of a European city in 750bhp single-seater racing cars.

Despite the slightly unhinged nature of the concept, the Monaco Grand Prix has been thrilling race fans since 1929, when British racer William Grover-Williams won the inaugural race in his Bugatti.

The critics of the circuit, which is laid out around the streets of Monte Carlo, might point towards the ludicrously tight layout that almost completely rules out on-track overtaking moves.

Indeed, the 2003 race was notable for containing no overtakes over its 78 laps and 161 miles, winner Juan-Pablo Montoya making up places during the fuel stops.

Nevertheless, Monaco remains one of the most spectacular events on the Formula 1 calendar, not least for the way the proximity of the buildings and unyielding crash barriers seem to emphasise the speed and noise.

This year's race is the 72nd running of the Monaco Grand Prix. Up to 2012, McLaren has been the most successful manufacturer around the streets of the Principality, racking up 15 victories.

The late, great Ayrton Senna recorded an amazing six of those in a remarkable spell between 1987 and 1993. However, the Brazilian's qualifying lap in 1988, when he set a lap time that was a remarkable 1.4sec quicker than his McLaren-Honda team-mate Alain Prost, remains one of the greatest moments in Monaco history.

Graham Hill was another driver with an uncanny knack of winning at Monaco. He scored a hat trick for BRM between 1963 and 1965, then added another two successes with Lotus in 1968-69.

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But Monaco's unique nature means it has often been the scene of unpredictable and even downright shocking results. Olivier Panis and Jarno Trulli recorded the only grand prix victories of their careers in 1996 and 2004 respectively.

When it comes to sheer drama, however, few races can match the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix. Once long-time leader Alain Prost had crashed out in changeable weather conditions, Brabham's Riccardo Patrese looked likely to win. But on the penultimate lap, Patrese had a spin, handing the lead to Didier Pironi who promptly ran out of fuel.

The drama wasn't over: Andrea de Cesaris should have assumed the lead but also ran out of fuel. That would have left Derek Daly at the head of the field, but his damaged car stopped with gearbox failure. Patrese, having resumed the race after his incident, thus crossed the line to claim his first grand prix victory…

It's one of many incidents that have punctuated the race's history. Click on the picture above to see our collection of Monaco's stand-out moments.

Join the debate


23 May 2013

Im a big Mercedes AMG fan. Fernando Alonso thinks that the Mercedes team will win at Monaco! If Mercedes Benz ever stand a hope of winning, then Brawn needs to start investing in tyre technology to improve the cars and give Hamilton and Rosberg a real shot. He could always send them to my local garage for a Mercedes service if all else fails! Haha.

23 May 2013

I like these Photos of the Monaco Grand Prix through the ages featuring different Drivers from different Teams

Jamie Pickles

23 May 2013

If you have a chance, read The Grand Prix Saboteurs. It's a fascinating insight into the true bravery of Grover-Williams.

23 May 2013

There might be less overtaking oppurtunities at Monaco, but theres definitely more drama. (Queen). The Yachts always look impressive. Shame theres no British Royal familly Yacht, though, to fly the flag. Especially since Ark Royal has been sent to the scrapyard in Turkei.


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