FAN ESSENTIALS: MONACO GRAND PRIX WITH DAN AND DC

May 22, 2014 by Infiniti

FAN ESSENTIALS: MONACO GRAND PRIX WITH DAN AND DC  MONACO – What can you say about the Monaco Grand Prix that hasn't already been said a thousand times: jewel in the crown, F1's glamour capital, a legendary circuit that sorts the men from the boys. The thing is, while the clichés get trotted out more regularly than an F1 driver interview features the words 'for sure,' they've only become clichés because they're true.

Monaco is a sparkling jewel of a race. The yachts, rock legends and film stars do give it an über-glamorous luster, and it is definitely a track where drivers are tested to extremes. In short, it's a race any self-respecting fan should attend at least once. The trouble is it's the race every self-respecting fan wants to visit, so the questions are: How do you navigate the crowds? How do you see the drivers at their work, and most importantly how do you extract the maximum from F1's starriest race? Easy – you ask a couple of grand prix drivers for some help. So, below you'll find a few tips from us – the cheapskate regulars – and we've enlisted a couple of our locally based talents, Daniel Ricciardo and David Coulthard, to give us the lowdown on their favorite Monaco haunts and their memories of racing in the streets. It's all you'll need to make the most of Monaco.

Staying

First off, you'll need to figure out where to stay. Of course, the ideal situation is to find somewhere to stay in the Principality. That way you can be woken up by the not so gentle sound of racing cars blasting by outside your window. However, as you might expect, this isn't cheap and hotel prices skyrocket during grand prix week.

For the regular folk among us – those who aren't hooked up with a cabin on a yacht moored in the harbor or with a cozy room overlooking at Loews Hotel by the hairpin – then the best bet is to edge your way down the coast from Monaco, exploring the bays that stretch along the Cote D'Azur.

This is actually a great way to attend the race. Target Cap D'Ail, Eze and Beaulieu-Sur-Mer to the west or towards Menton and Italy in the east and then take the trains that regularly run along the coast to Monaco. You can happily enjoy the race and the many delights of Monaco by night and then cruise back to a peaceful bolthole either by the last train or taxi (though these are pricey). And on the traditional Friday rest day it's a great way of chilling out.

The Circuit

What can you say about this most famous of F1 circuits? It isn't fast; indeed it has the slowest average speed of the year at 158kph/90mph, but on the winding streets the cars look faster than at any other circuit as they brush past the barriers and up the hill towards Casino Square. However, don't just take our word for it, here are Dan and DC on the Circuit de Monaco's best bits.

Daniel


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    'It's an amazing place. My favorite sections of the track? I love Tabac (the left-hander after the Nouvelle Chicane) and the Swimming Pool section, the fast chicane following Tabac. The key to a good Monaco is to be smooth, don't overdrive and focus on the exits.'

    So where's the best place for fans to watch from?

    'I think the Swimming Pool, which is nearly flat out with the car jumping across the curbs and also seeing the cars go through Casino Square is pretty cool.'

    David

    'Monaco is about three stages. The first is simply getting through the first corner. If you can do that you're half way to building a lap. I know it sounds ridiculous, because it's just one corner, but it's a corner where a lot of drivers get greedy and you can easily crash there. You have to have discipline. Casino Square, going over the rise, is the next tricky part, so you really have to have the confidence to keep the car flat out as you come over the crest. The rest of the section until you come out of the tunnel is straightforward. However, braking as you come over the rise and out of the tunnel is tricky, as I found out in my last year with Red Bull Racing. In qualifying I crashed on the right hand side on the corner, as the car goes light over the rise because it's bumpy and because you're turning slightly to the right before turning left at the chicane.

    So that is the key, if you get these area rights, the rest of the track is just about being tidy. It's exciting. It's high speed. The crowds are above you. You can sense that you really can fight with a racing car at high speed and you really feel alive behind the wheel. It's really a question of good housekeeping. Being tidy.'

    GOING OUT IN MONACO

    Eating and Drinking

    Monaco is awash with great places, from the affordable and funky to the seriously flash and fancy.

    Daniel

    'Beef Bar (42 Quai Jean-Charles Rey, 98000 Monaco +377 97 77 09 29) do an amazing hamburger with truffle which I love. It's pretty much my go to meal if I've had a big training week and can afford the extra calories. To be honest, I haven't had a bad meal yet in Monaco. There's a range of great Italian restaurants, particularly near the entry of the tunnel and I've had some really good Thai and Japanese also. So, yeah, you can't go wrong!'

    We know a racing driver's body is a temple, but if you were to fancy a swift drink, where would go?

    'To be honest, I haven't been out much yet in Monaco. The only places I have been are Amber Lounge and Sass Café (see below). And in terms of clubs, I've heard of some great places but again same answer as above.'

    If a truffle-infused burger doesn't float your culinary boat, we can also offer these fine-dining and excellent drinking gems.

    QUAI DES ARTISTES

    4 Quai Antoine 1er. T: 377 97 97 97 77

    A traditional Parisian brasserie with Art Deco décor, tucked away beside the port. Located next to the Formula One paddock, this is a great place to hang out and eat outstanding seafood.

    BELLA VITA

    21 Avenue Princesse Caroline. T: 377 93 50 42 02

    Bella Vita is the place for traditional Italian food in the heart of Monaco. Close to the starting grid, the restaurant's terrace will truly let you feel the beat of the grand prix experience.

    STARS 'N' BARS

    6 Quai Antoine 1er. T: 377 97 97 95 95

    Stars 'N' Bars has undergone a bit of a makeover in the past year and promises a host of new features and surprises. We'd put our money on this venerable grand prix party favourite retaining its great atmosphere, great food and fabulous drinks all served by friendly staff.

    JIMMY'Z

    Sporting d'Eté Avenue Princesse Grace. T: 377 98 06 36 36

    One of the world's legendary nightclubs and a Monaco GP legend, Jimmy'z has been the choice of celebs and Formula One people for as long as anyone can remember. There's even a Japanese garden with breath-taking views of Monte Carlo. Be warned though, it is a credit card-melting experience.

    SASS CAFE

    11 Avenue Princesse Grace. T: 377 93 25 52 00

    The champagne flows freely here, fuelling the electric atmosphere of this famous Mediterranean diner and piano bar. Renowned as a spot where the party goes on all night, don't be surprised if dinner and drinks turns into an evening of great live music and dancing on the tables.

    SOAKING UP THE PRE- & POST- RACE ATMOSPHERE

    Daniel

    'When the race weekend isn't on, my time here is about training, lots of cycling (normally to Italy for a nice bit of morning tea), going to the beach, lots of meals with other athletes. There's a great social group in Monaco made up of drivers, cyclists, motorbike riders etc. Even to get out on a scooter and ride along the French Riviera is a good afternoon away from it all. I think all of Monaco is really pretty. For me I just love walking along the port and gazing at the boats, or shall I say ships! You can stare at them for hours.'

    MAKING MONACO MEMORIES

    The very best races in Formula One tend to be city-based with plenty of amenities on your doorstep, and in Monaco, where everything happens within a few square miles, it's almost impossible to not have a good time. Even if you've only got general admission tickets to the hillside above Rascasse, the feverish atmosphere is such that you're guaranteed a memorable weekend. If you go for grandstand tickets, make sure you get Saturday tickets too as qualifying is all-important, and often the highlight of the weekend. After that it's about embracing the madness, the glamour of the harbor and the yachts, and enjoying a couple of big nights out at the many nightspots Monaco is famous for. As for our two drivers, for DC the memories are long and glorious. For Dan, though, they're just beginning to form.

    Daniel

    'For me the most 'heart-in-the mouth' moment was probably lining up on the grid in pole position for my first time there – Formula Renault 3.5. Just to be racing there was surreal enough but starting on pole was even more so.'

    David

    'My best memory is probably my second win, in 2002, because it was a pure victory. In the first one, in 2000, Michael Schumacher broke his suspension so it was slightly inherited, but in 2002 I led from the start, dealt with the graining phase of the tires, managed to push when they cleaned up, kept a lead through the pit stops and kept it tidy. Also the podium for Red Bull Racing in 2006, I remember celebrating that with the Superman cape.'

    Do you still have that cape?

    'I do, indeed. I still have the suits as well. I think it's on a mannequin in the apartment in London. So yeah memories of that. And I think overall I had a pretty good strike rate in Monaco – I either finished in the points or broke down or crashed out.'

    If you had to sum that race up in three words for a driver what would you say?

    'Ultimate driving challenge.'

  • Photo credit: Infiniti
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