This is one of my favorite weeks of the year for racing. This Sunday is the Monaco Grand Prix, which is arguably the premier event of the year for Formula One. The race will be carried live on NBC, Sunday at 8am.
Adding to the excitement this year is that 18 year old Max Verstappen will be in serious contention to win. Verstappen is coming off his first ever victory, at the Spanish Grand Prix, which did not have either of the powerful Mercedes surviving to the finish.
While Hamilton and Rosberg will be back and likely at the front of the poles, Verstappen will also have another chance to shine, because this is a track that favors down force and driver skill over pure power. This Verstappen certainly has shown enough skill, but does he have enough experience and wisdom to see it through to the end this time?
Verstappen has toned down a bit of the recklessness that plagued him in 2015, and I think the main story to watch for early this coming weekend will be which Max shows up. If he demonstrates too much adrenaline or even hubris after his victory in Spain, then a wreck is likely. Last year he carried too much speed into a braking zone and clipped Romain Grosjean, who was with Lotus, taking them both from the race in a scary high speed collision. This year he's shown far more control over his outstanding skills, which is what led to his promotion to the Red Bull team, at the expense of the Danil Kyvat just before the Spanish race.
While I cannot dismiss Ferrari's presence at Monaco, it's Red Bull's reputation for down force and control that has me excited. My personal favorites, the Williams team, suffers from lack of down force. While they're typically a top 5 contender, this isn't their best track.
Additionally, Renault has installed their engine upgrade this week and reports are favorable. While this is unlikely to help the banana looking factory Renault team much, who typically runs near the back, this may buy Red Bull an extra half second around the streets of Monte Carlo.