monaco.jpgThe Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most eagerly awaited and glamourous events in the Formula 1 season, a challenging race circuit set on the streets of the principality where you can’t swing a cat without knocking some rich hob-nob or starlet with more money than sense off a yacht the size of Flavio Briatore’s ego.

Monaco is also the race that Formula 1 drivers would love to win most, it is almost regarded that a win on the tight twisty streets of the principality is somehow an affirmation of one’s manhood amongst one’s peers. Unless your name is Scott Speed, then you just go up and down the pitlane bragging about it. Or if your Kimi, break your car, retire and head off to your private yacht for some drinks, lark about with your pals and fall on your head.

Going into the 5th round of the Formula 1 Calendar, you would expect that so called “armchair experts”, previous F1 has-beens and hanger-on types would be full of pearls of wisdom and opinions about whom of the current crop of drivers they think is likely to win..however it seems they have all crept back into the woodwork and are keeping schtum apart from the odd muttering of “Monaco it’s a lottery isn’t it?” and there was me thinking it was actually an exclusive parking lot. (I’m only joking Michael).

Even Niki “Nostradamus” Lauda has done a disappearing act…probably too busy in some hole somewhere wondering who on earth’s career to write off next since he seems to have already given us his food for thought on Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi. Felipe Massa seemingly to have managed to escape the attention of “Nostradamus” thus far due to the fact he is a vertically challenged little poppet who looks 14 and is probably tucked up safely in bed while Niki is out scaring other children.

With the weather forecast expecting showers on both Saturday (Qualifying) and Sunday (The Race) it really does seem that the stage is set for a lottery this weekend. Just looking at the four main title contenders it is hard to pick out who might come away with the shiny pots….here at FFN we are just hoping it isn’t Lewis Hamilton.

Not because we don’t like the lad or wish him well in his fledgling career, but really he is already leading the world championship with his multitude of second places (begging the question as to which senile old muppet came up with the current ridiculous points system?). But I will be forced to sever my ears from the sides of my head if I have to witness his name being mentioned more than the usual 250 times a show in the ITV F1 TV coverage. By which time I’ll be begging to be admitted to a mental institution.

massa.jpgGoing into the weekend Ferrari’s Felipe Massa looks to be favourite coming on the back of two sensational wins in Bahrain and Spain, but his dubious track record (no pun intended) in the rain and the fact he got into a slight personal disagreement with the barriers last year means there are still question marks over his abilities on the Monaco circuit. Having said that he has had a year of practicing on his playstation so really there should be no excuse for any repeat performances of that kind.

Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen has admitted prior to this weekend that he has struggled to get to grips with one lap performance and the tyres on his F2007, which has more often than not left him in the shade of his less well paid team-mate. The Kimster however has been quick to point out there are still 13 races left just in case we can’t count, and that it isn’t over until Bernie croaks (we can dream). In the Drivers FIA interview on Wednesday Kimi told the world’s media that he will be aiming to get in the car and go as fast as possible this weekend (What the devil has been doing the other four weekends?), let’s just hope he remembers to brake for the corners otherwise we will be spending half the race admiring his new yacht while the Ferrari mechanics pick bits of carbon fibre out of the barriers.

Additionally Ferrari’s Head of Track Operations Luca Baldisserri seems very keen to banish the six year Ferrari drought here at Monaco, the last winner being Michael Schumacher in 2001. The little poppet has promised the team will be working extra hard with their crayons to come up with a superb race strategy to ensure the rain and any safety car incidents don’t totally ruin the day….and we are wondering if it is because Baldo needs something to get rid of the taste of “fairy washing up liquid” he got in his mouth on the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

hamiltonscar.jpgITV Love Child Lewis Hamilton also fancies his chances at Monaco, not least because he has won there previously in both Formula 3 and GP2. However the Brit has admitted he doesn’t really subscribe to the ‘win at all costs’ attitude such as the likes of Michael Schumacher, so we are a little baffled why Lewis parked his car into the barriers today in free practice at Sainte Devote. We can only think he got his corners confused…either that or the bling in his race helmet reflected in his wing mirror and momentarily blinded him until it was too late.

Meanwhile Double World Champion Fernando Alonso topped the timesheets in both free practice sessions today sending out the ominous message to his rivals that you can never write him off…even if Niki Lauda had a good go at the start of the week. It remains to be seen though if the effort of continually denying he wants to rip his team mate’s head off and stuff it down Ron Dennis’ neck will eventually take its toll, I’ll give it three more races before Nando is throwing tantrums, brake-testing Lewis and getting a yacht of his own to sulk on.

Three days to go…..