Rarely is something both the slowest and the hardest at the same time, but that all goes out the window when you’re talking about the Grand Prix at Monaco. For the majority of the F1 season, the drivers get to open up their cars a good bit. At Monaco, those chances to go wide open are limited to about three, as there are only a three extended straightaways on the track.

Besides those three straights, drivers get to deal with a plethora of intense twists and blind turns that require great care to negotiate correctly. These tight turns all amount to Monaco being the lowest average speed course on the F1 circuit, and arguably the hardest one on the circuit.

Well, the 70th running of this ultra-technical road course is due to start on May 27, 2012 and we’re going to provide a quick preview of what’s to come.

Click past the jump to read all about the Grand Prix at Monaco

History

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After some persuasion from the Automobile Club of Monaco members, then president of the club and Prince launched the Grand Prix of Monaco. The inaugural race went off on April 14th, 1929. The second running took place on April 19th, 1932 with world speed record holder Captain Sir Malcom Campbell winning in his Rolls Royce.

The Grand Prix failed to run from 1938 through 1947, due to economic reasons and lack of interest from participants. The race resumed in 1948 but was cancelled again the following year after the death of Prince Louis II. Races took place again in 1950 and `52, but they were cancelled in `53 and `54. The following year, the race went off without a hitch and it has continued that way for 57 years.

2012 Schedule

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The 2012 running of the Grand Prix of Monaco is a four-day event that consists of multiple practices and a series of qualifying runs for positioning. The schedule is as follows:

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Thursday May 24, 2012

Time Event
7:00 Road closure to traffic
8:30 to 9:15 Free practice session Formula Renault 3.5
10:00 to 11:30 1st Free Practice Session F1
12:00 to 12:30 Free practice session GP2
14:00 to 15:30 2rd Free Practice Session F1
16:00 to 16:30 Qualifying GP2
16:55 to 17:25 Free practice Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup
19:00 Opening of track to road traffic

Friday May 25, 2012

Time Event
7:00 Road closure to traffic
9:45 to 10:15 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup (First qualifying session)
10:50 to 11:55 GP2 - First Race (42 laps or 60 mins)
14:00 Opening of track to road traffic

Saturday May 26, 2012

Time Event
6:00 Road closure to traffic
9:00 to 9:25 Formula Renault 3.5 (Qualifying - série A)
9:30 to 9:55 Formula Renault 3.5 (Qualifying - série B)
11:00 to 12:00 3rd Free Practice Session F1
14:00 to 15:00 Free practice Qualifying F1
16:00 to 16:50 GP2 - Second Race (30 laps or 45 mins)
19:00 Opening of track to road traffic

Sunday May 27, 2012

Time Event
7:00 Road closure to traffic
9:45 to 10:15 Porsche Mobil 1 SuperCup (16 laps or 30 mins)
11:10 to 12:00 Formula Renault 3.5 - (25 laps or 45 mins)
12:30 Formula 1 - Drivers parade
14:00 70th GRAND PRIX of MONACO 2012 (lasting 78 laps or 2 hours)
19:00 Opening of track to road traffic

Weather

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Weather always plays a huge factor on the Grand Prix of Monaco, as it is a very wet area. As of now, it looks like there will be showers throughout the day and night. On race day it looks to be partly cloudy and only reaching a high of 69 degrees, so areas of the track may still be damp, depending on when the rain ends and how the sunshine goes.

Keep in mind that the race is bracketed between two days of rain – it is supposed to rain on Monday too – so there is a good chance of a little of the wet stuff on race day. That always makes things a little interesting.

Practice Results

With both practice days in the books, we can get a good idea of how all of the drivers are doing thus far. This won’t tell us who’ll win, but it gives you a good idea of who’s feeling “it” and who is not on their game yet.

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Practice 1 Results

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:16.265 N/A 22
2 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:16.630 0.365 17
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.711 0.446 19
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.747 0.482 12
5 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:16.760 0.495 20
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:16.843 0.578 19
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:17.038 0.773 21
8 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.190 0.925 13
9 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:17.222 0.957 14
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:17.261 0.996 18
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:17.413 1.148 14
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:17.631 1.366 18
13 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:18.106 1.841 14
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:18.209 1.944 25
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:18.252 1.987 28
16 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:18.302 2.037 16
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:18.617 2.352 20
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:19.039 2.774 20
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:19.341 3.076 16
20 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:20.838 4.573 26
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:20.895 4.630 18
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:21.638 5.373 9
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:22.423 6.158 15
24 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault No time N/A 1

Practice 2 Results

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:15 .746 N/A 17
2 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:16 .138 0.392 19
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:16.602 0.856 21
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:16.661 0.915 23
5 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:16.820 1.074 20
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:17.021 1.275 15
7 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:17.148 1.402 23
8 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:17.153 1.407 22
9 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:17.293 1.547 11
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:17.303 1.557 21
11 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.375 1.629 19
12 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:17.395 1.649 21
13 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:17.655 1.909 18
14 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:17.800 2.054 25
15 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:18.251 2.505 24
16 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:18.440 2.694 25
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:18.522 2.776 22
18 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:18.808 3.062 26
19 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:19.267 3.521 25
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:19.309 3.563 29
21 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:20.029 4.283 13
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:20.240 4.494 21
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:20.631 4.885 12
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:20.886 5.140 10

F1 Points Standings

The 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco will certainly have some impact on the points standings, as you have Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso tied in first with 61 points each. Almost the entire top drivers can see overall standings shifts, depending on their finish on Sunday, as the largest gap is only eight points, which is between No. 1 and No. 2 and a No. 1 finish will net a driver 25 points.

To finish things up, let’s have a look at the points standings as we head into Monaco:

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Sebastian Vettel
Pos Driver Nationality Team Points
1 Sebastian Vettel German Red Bull Racing-Renault 61
2 Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari 61
3 Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes 53
4 Kimi Räikkönen Finnish Lotus-Renault 49
5 Mark Webber Australian Red Bull Racing-Renault 48
6 Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes 45
7 Nico Rosberg German Mercedes 41
8 Romain Grosjean French Lotus-Renault 35
9 Pastor Maldonado Venezuelan Williams-Renault 29
10 Sergio Perez Mexican Sauber-Ferrari 22
11 Kamui Kobayashi Japanese Sauber-Ferrari 19
12 Paul di Resta British Force India-Mercedes 15
13 Bruno Senna Brazilian Williams-Renault 14
14 Jean-Eric Vergne French STR-Ferrari 4
15 Nico Hulkenberg German Force India-Mercedes 3
16 Daniel Ricciardo Australian STR-Ferrari 2
17 Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari 2
18 Michael Schumacher German Mercedes 2
19 Timo Glock German Marussia-Cosworth 0
20 Charles Pic French Marussia-Cosworth 0
21 Vitaly Petrov Russian Caterham-Renault 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Caterham-Renault 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa Spanish HRT-Coswort 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan Indian HRT-Cosworth 0
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Fernando Alonso
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