Sergio Perez will be looking to become the first driver to win two in a row at the Monaco Grand Prix since Nico Rosberg a decade ago, when he returns to the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend.
Sergio Perez strengthened his credentials as one of Formula 1 top’s top drivers on street circuits with last year’s win. He is also coming off a strong second-place finish three weeks ago in Miami that lifted him to the podium for the fourth time in five races this season. The weekend also marks a homecoming for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who captured the pole in each of the past two years but has enjoyed little success otherwise at his home race.
Despite his recent success, Perez lags behind the favourites on the Monaco Grand Prix odds as a +700 bet to repeat this weekend. His Red Bull teammate and defending F1 champion Max Verstappen tops the odds board as +150 favourite, just ahead of Leclerc at +375. Fernando Alonso follows at +550, and Carlos Sainz Jr. is pegged at +600.
Monaco Grand Prix Race Time, Weather Forecast
Lights out at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. ET on Sunday morning at Circuit de Monaco. Weather could become a factor as the weekend progresses. A comfortable sunny day is expected for Saturday qualifying, but a 70 per cent chance of rain has been forecast for race day.
Battle for Top of the Standings Resumes
After seeing the recent break extended to three weeks by the massive flooding that forced the cancellation of last week’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the European leg of the 2023 schedule gets underway this weekend. It remains a close battle for the top of the standings between Verstappen and Perez, with the champ leading his chief rival and teammate by just 14 points in the F1 Drivers Standings.
This weekend also marks a return to the scene of where their rivalry was revealed, with Verstappen taking exception to some of Checo’s tactics in qualifying including what has been suspected to be an intentional crash that shortened the final round of qualifying and cost Verstappen a shot to seize the pole.
While Perez is often thought to hold the edge on street tracks like Monaco, Verstappen sports an impressive track record at this event, finishing third last year and taking home the checkered flag two years ago. Considering they have finished top two in four of five races to date, the Red Bull duo is not to be overlooked as a +150 bet to produce yet another double podium finish.
Can Leclerc Break Through in Monaco?
Charles Leclerc has been a force in qualifying on the streets of Monaco in each of the past two editions of this race. The Ferrari driver led all three sessions of qualifying last year while grabbing the front of the grid for a second straight year. However, that has not translated into success on race day. Leclerc turned in a career-best fourth place finish a year ago, but saw his early lead evaporate due to poor decision making by his team. He failed to finish better than 18th in three previous appearances at his home race while cursed by technical problems and driving errors.
Leclerc looked to have busted out of a slow start this season with his third-place run in Azerbaijan, but was never a threat while qualifying and finishing seventh in Miami. Accordingly, it’s tough to get behind the short odds of the local boy getting the win this weekend.
However, Leclerc and his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz offer value as a short -200 bet to produce a double top six finish, if they can avoid another debacle. And Leclerc also sports attractive +250 odds of producing the fastest lap.
Predictions: Red Bull double podium (+150); Charles Leclerc fastest lap (+250)