Formula 1 2013 circuit guide: Monaco Grand Prix

The most romantic of all the F1 venues, Monaco sets the drivers the ultimate test - no wonder they all dream of winning here

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Monaco Grand Prix, Circuit de Monaco

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26 May 2013, 1pm GMT

Live on Sky Sports F1, highlights on BBC

First Grand Prix: 1950

Track length: 3.340 km

Number of laps: 78

Lap record: 1:14.439, Michael Schumacher, 2004

If ever a track seemed to embody the very essence of Formula One, it has to be the street circuit of Monaco down on the yacht-drenched, perma-tanned, bejewelled Cote d’Azur.

The sport of the playboy hits the playground of the rich and famous for one intoxicating party of affluence, as seductive as it is enthralling.

The tight twists and turns of that oh-so-familiar labyrinthine circuit take drivers through all the nooks and crannies of Monaco, and the course demands an intense level of concentration and adaptability from all the competitors.

But more than that it’s the romance of this track, and the place, that really get the pulses of motorsport fans racing.

Who can forget marvelling on a Sunday afternoon, at a sight that seemed to defy reality – specifically that of powerful, high-performance race cars revving up and charging round this little seaside port at breakneck speed.

No wonder the drivers all want to win here; it’s the Wembley of the F1 calendar. You’ll never forget your first spin and the gravitas of topping the podium is impossible to beat.

When it comes to succeeding in Monaco, its essential to handle the Portier corner with care. Drivers approach it straight out of a tight Loews hairpin and, with both Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher having suffered race-ending crashes there through the years, even the best are vulnerable.

2012 memory: The top six running nose-to-tail over the last 10 laps with eventual winner Mark Webber hanging on for glory.

Previous winners

2012: Mark Webber

2011: Sebastian Vettel

2010: Mark Webber

2009: Jenson Button

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2008: Lewis Hamilton