Monaco Grand Prix 2023 Predictions: Leclerc can step on the podium this weekend

Phillip Horton

26 May 2023

It’s a state so small that you can walk from one side to the other, yet it houses one of the most famous international sporting events – it’s time for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Automobiles first raced around Monaco’s streets in 1929 and the tiny Principality, which perched on rocks above the French Riviera, soon became renowned for the most improbable of sporting events.

Aided by the glitz and glamour, and the brutal challenge, Monaco established itself as one of grand prix racing’s blue riband events and is placed on a plinth alongside the likes of the Le Mans 24 Hours and Indianapolis 500. 

Since the 1950s it has been absent from Formula One’s calendar just once due to the pandemic in 2020, and the track layout remains traceable to the circuit first utilised almost 100 years ago with Monaco having expanded and grown around the ribbon of tarmac. 

It is the shortest circuit of the season with a lap time around 70 seconds, but a lot is crammed into those three kilometres with the close proximity of the unforgiving barriers adding to the challenge. 

Can the Le-curse be broken?

It is impossible to mention Monaco without mentioning one of its own – Charles Leclerc.

Formula One drivers tend to make Monaco their home but Leclerc was born and raised in the Principality, watched the race from friends’ balconies, and took the journey to school along the roads that are now his race track. Yet there has been little in the way of home advantage for Leclerc.

His debut in Monaco in 2018 ended in brake failure, while a strategic error from Ferrari left him mired towards the back of the grid a year later. A scrappy recovery ended his race prematurely.

Leclerc claimed pole position in both 2021 and 2022 at a circuit where grid position is vital, yet the opportunity was wrested out of his control on both occasions. A pre-race mechanical failure in 2021 meant he failed to even take up his pole position, while Ferrari’s strategic blunder in a wet/dry race relegated Leclerc to an inconsolable fourth last year. 

But, perhaps there is hope for Leclerc in 2023. While Red Bull’s RB19 has been dominant, Ferrari – or rather, Leclerc – has been a stronger proposition in qualifying pace, while Monaco’s circuit characteristics should mask some of their limitations. It may be the best shot for Leclerc to make the podium. 

Sixth different winner?

The last five Monaco races have produced five different victors. Sebastian Vettel (2017) was followed by Daniel Ricciardo (2018), Lewis Hamilton (2019) and Max Verstappen (2021).

Last year it was Sergio Perez’s turn to climb onto the top step of Monaco’s podium in front of the assembled dignitaries. That made it Red Bull’s third win in four years in Monaco and the squad has so far steamrolled the opposition in 2023.

Red Bull has not yet been beaten this season and four of their five victories have been one-two finishes, enabling the squad to open a sizeable points advantage in both championships. 

Monaco Grand Prix 2023 Predictions

Red Bull both cars to finish top 3 @ 1.9
Charles Leclerc to finish top 3 @ 1.7

Phillip Horton

26 May 2023

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