Monaco is legendary. It's short and most importantly, it's ridiculously difficult because of the proximity of the barriers. It was 1929 when racing engines first reverberated around the Principality. The race was part of the calendar in the first year of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1950, and hasn’t been off it since 1955. A true classic on the calendar.
Sector 1 consists of only four corners and includes the famous flat-out uphill section after the iconic Turn 1 of Sainte Devote. Once the top of the hill is reached, you sling-shot the car around Monaco's famous Casino, praying not to end up in the barriers.
Turn 1 (Sainte Devote): Entry
Turn 1 of Sainte Devote is one of very few possible overtaking spots around this track, although still very difficult.
A lot of drivers approach this corner from the very left. Instead, try to stay in the middle of the track on the way in as this will enable you to brake in a straight line. This improves your longitudinal grip and enables you to brake later. Begin to do so as you go under the overhead gantry, approaching in 7th gear.
Be wary of cars exiting the pits as you cut across the pit exit line. By the time you reach the corner's turn-in point, you should be close to the barrier on the left in 4th gear.
Turn 1 (Sainte Devote): Apex
Turn 1 has an inside kerb that is big and flat so make good use of it to maximise what little space there is around Monaco. Try to get all four tyres up onto the red and white parts. However, be careful not to cut the corner as this will invalidate your lap time.
The focus here is slow in - fast out. this helps you to get the best momentum up the fairly steep hill to follow. Take a wide line in for the highest minimum speed, getting as close to the entry wall as possible, and pick up the power after the apex kerb. Use 3rd gear for the apex and 4th gear at the exit wall.
Turn 1 (Sainte Devote): Exit
T1's exit kerb is almost non-existent but since every inch counts, use it to nudge the rear of the car away from the wall. Be careful though as the kerb is small but steep, which can reduce your traction on exit.
It goes without saying that you should avoid touching the wall at all costs. However, getting on the power early is critical as a long, flat-out and uphill section follows. As soon as you come off the kerb get smoothly on the throttle.
At the same time try to open up the steering early to enable earlier throttle application. Shift up to 4th gear before you get to the outside wall for stability on the kerb.
Remember cars exiting the pits can cut Turn 1 so be prepared for a car to appear out of nowhere from your right.
Turn 2 (Beau Rivage): Approach
Once you make it out of Sainte Devote in one piece, you have a few seconds to breathe as the uphill climb towards T2 and T3 is easily taken flat out through 5th, 6th and 7th gear.
However, as always, turning in more means more scrub and less speed so try to straighten up this part as much as possible, getting as close as you can to the walls. Thread the needle!
Turn 2 (Beau Rivage): Apex
Turn 2 of Beau Rivage is a right kink just before you reach the brow of the hill. Hug the right-hand side smoothly to ensure that you get the widest possible entry into the following T3.
Stay flat out in 7th gear until you pass the crest and straighten the wheel, then begin to trailbrake as you turn in for T3.
You see GT/Cup cars taking a more direct line towards T3's apex whereas F1 cars take an extremely wide entry to keep downforce levels as high as possible mid-corner.
Turn 3 (Massenet): 1st Apex
We have reached the top of the hill and the highest point of the Circuit de Monaco.
Turn 3 of Massenet starts fast and gets tighter and tighter as it goes on. For this reason, you need to gently trailbrake through, as well as making it into a double apex. Slowly shift down from 7th to 4th as you do this.
Make a sweeping wide line to bring the car to the first apex just after the small kerb ends (for stability), then let the car drift out to mid-circuit before coming back to make a second apex later on.
After the first apex, pick up a 50% throttle and build it up as you head towards the second apex.
Turn 3 (Massenet): 2nd Apex
Massenet's second apex is extremely important as it is immediately followed by the turn-in point for T4.
Start to build the throttle mid-corner as you approach the second apex in 4th gear, aiming to reach almost full throttle by the time you get there. As soon as you pass the clipping point, you will need to dab the brakes for T4.
Get all the way over to the left but do not touch the wall, then flick the car into T4 as the barrier straightens. Downshift to 3rd gear for T4.
Turn 4 (Casino): Apex
Turn 4 in the Casino section is a tricky one. Dab the brakes as you straighten the car out of T3 and flick the car in slightly late to open up the exit. As you do, downshift to 3rd gear and take the apex.
Lightly clip the apex kerb but be careful as its steep angle means taking it heavily can unsettle the car. Get back on throttle as you pass the kerb.
Turn 4 (Casino): Exit
Turn 4's exit is tricky as the track crests in the traction zone. Get on the power early but do not go flat out until the rears really grip up to avoid a spin. Get right up against the wall on exit.
Shift up to 4th gear after passing this crest. Don't have much steering lock on over the crest either.
Once you are able to straighten the wheel, get ready to drive slightly around another big bump in the road further ahead which is so big that most racecars bottom out if you just drive over it.