Formula 1’s slowest track is arguably also its most intense.
Once described as “riding a bicycle around your living room” by former racer Nelson Piquet, the circuit through the affluent streets of Monte Carlo is intricate, undulating, and narrow.
The relatively low average speed (as stated by Formula 1) of 130km/h is made up for by the 19 corners and turns, and almost 100 gear changes that the track requires.
So, despite the changes in car technology and a few minor differences in the circuit, the above video comparing Kimi Raikkonen’s recent top qualifying lap, with Jarno Trulli’s winning effort in 2004 is fascinating to watch.
Though Raikkonen didn’t take an overall victory thanks to teammate Vettel’s Monaco prowess (as seen below from Formula 1’s own stats), Kimi’s qualifying lap is still champion stuff.
The biggest difference (aside from the huge two second lap time gap) between the two clips is the smoothness. Not just the footage, but the difference between steering movements and the car’s behaviour.
Kimi is adjusting the car out of a few corners (turn 1 is a good example) whereas Trulli appears to adjust the car into the corners and exits rather smoothly.
This can be backed up with a side-by-side of Kimi’s 2017 lap, and one from 2005. His 2005 qualifying lap also landed him a pole grid position, which he used to claim victory.
Again, there are so many differences between cars of then and now – and the track has changed ever so slightly – but watching the same man drive the same circuit ten years apart only to beat his own lap in a heavier car with a smaller engine should be bizarre.
If nothing else, it’s a tribute to the engineering advancements of the past decade. Even if they don’t sound as good.
Map credit: Will Pittenger