The throaty roar of an inline-four, the swish of a chequered flag, the camaraderie of riding together, and the legends and their greatest hits.

The Royal Touch

Monaco: It’s a name that sends shivers down our spine. That’s just the way it always has been – challenging, twisty, through the streets of one of the most glamourous places in the world. It’s no different for Nikki Grubb-Clarke. She tells you exactly why this king of all grand prix will always be a favourite.

This is my favourite thing in the whole wide world. Ever. Look at it, sitting majestically on that beautiful, red background, its wonder oozing out of every porous bit of it. I love it more than anything else I own, because that stunning little rock is a piece of history, a stone taken from the apex of the hairpin at Monaco. A stone that will have been flicked around by the tyres of legends. It lives in my purse and goes everywhere with me, but once a year – this weekend in fact – it is removed from its place of pride next to photos of my family, and it gets to see what’s going on Back Home.

A little piece of Monaco!

A little piece of Monaco!

Because this weekend, it’s my favourite race on the calendar. The Monaco Grand Prix. A race steeped in history and considered with immense affection by the majority of race fans, particularly the ones who can remember what magic can happen when you give Ayrton Senna a car and tell him he won’t be able to overtake. So here we are, pulling on the handbrake on the yacht, and taking our place for this year’s extravaganza. What will it bring?

The Monaco Master himself: Ayrton Senna. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The Monaco Master himself: Ayrton Senna. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Pirelli confirmed after the Stop Fest that was Barcelona that they are going to be making changes to the tyres before Monaco. Will the changes help the Mercedes maintain some race pace? Mercedes isn’t taking anything for granted, with Lewis Hamilton tweeting a picture of what we can only assume, shows one alternative the team are considering to save weight in the car, thus being kinder to the tyres.

Curiouser and curiouser. From Lewis Hamilton's Instagram!

Curiouser and curiouser. From Lewis Hamilton’s Instagram!

It has to be said, if the tyre changes don’t make the Mercedes race pace any better, this is definitely their best chance of the season of securing a win. It’s so tremendously difficult to overtake on this track that their usual trick of pinching pole with electrifying qualifying pace might just be enough for them to defend wildly and hold position.

Will McLaren redeem itself with a new nose and different tyres? Time will tell.  Image by courtesy of Pirelli (for editorial use only)

Will McLaren redeem itself with a new nose and different tyres? Time will tell. Image by courtesy of Pirelli (for editorial use only)

McLaren’s failed attempt at rhinoplasty in Barcelona will come to fruition this weekend, and they REALLY need it to do something for them. They are desperate for something to give them a bit of fight and put them back in contention, and we are desperate to see them back up there, fighting for poles and wins. *Cough, cough* BRING BACK RON DENNIS *cough, cough cough.*

My life has been a finger-free zone for the last few weeks. Not literally – I’m not typing this with my nose – but THAT finger. THAT horrible, evil digit I loathe so has been absent from my life, and I’ve LOVED it! Long may it continue! Apparently brake issues were what cost him and the Red Bull team in Barcelona. Shame.

Lotus has been remarkably consistant so far this year with Kimi in a very strong 2nd in the World Drivers Championship by a mere 4 points. Always there or there about, could the traditional Monaco Thursday Night Out offer the basis, the vodka and the ice cream that gives the mighty Finn his first win of the year, and with it, the lead of the WDC? It’s certainly a possibility.

Alonso? Alonso? Is that you? Oh wait, is it Marco Mengoni. Hmmm. Image courtesy stikkardia; used under Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Alonso? Alonso? Is that you? Oh wait, is it Marco Mengoni. Hmmm. Image courtesy stikkardia; used under Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Ferrari are looking mighty after their amazing win in Barcelona, so much so that Fernando Alonso found time to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest last weekend. He should probably stick to his day job to be fair!

And what of my very ‘favourite’ team of them all, Williams? I hope they have a weekend that gives them the exact same level of success that every other race weekend this year has bestowed upon them. Then, I will be happier than a pig in the stuff that makes a pig happy to be in.

This race has both been the making of legends and proven to be their unraveling. So what will we see this year? Will we have a Monacan Mercedes Love Train? Or a Magnum-fuelled Iceman Victory? Perhaps the Big Red Horse shall prance its way to 2 out of 2. Whatever happens on Sunday, my Stone and I shall watching, hoping for at least 1 Monaco Moment that the Legends would be proud of, and a severe lack of Finger on the podium!

Nikki is a 30-something life-long motorsports fan who fell in love with Formula 1 when Ayrton Senna stole her young heart, never to be returned.  Feisty by nature, she always tells it how it is and is no respector of reputation – if a driver is having a bad driving day and is making excuses, that’s exactly what she’ll say. Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter!

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