Monaco Grand Prix preview: Super-yachts, gaudy glamour & raw racing
|Monaco Grand Prix on the BBC|
|Date: 25-28 May Venue: Circuit de Monaco|
|Coverage: Practice on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra (final practice online only). Qualifying and race on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary, leaderboard and imagery on BBC Sport website and app.|
No matter how many times you have seen it, the sheer preposterousness of it never fails to strike you.
Here are the racing cars that less than two weeks ago were rounding Barcelona's Turn Three at 160mph, and soon will be swooping through Eau Rouge at Spa at close to 200mph, being driven on the limit through streets barely wide enough for a Rolls-Royce.
A Rolls-Royce - or a Lamborghini or a Ferrari or any other material symbol-on-wheels of the global uber-rich - is the more 'normal' transport for a trip around the roads of this Mediterranean principality that combines glamour and seediness like perhaps nowhere else on earth.
The glamour; everyone knows about that - the weather, the boats, the cars, the beautiful people, the lovely Beaux-Arts villas clinging precipitously to the hillsides.
The seediness? Well, Somerset Maugham's observation a century ago that Monaco was a "sunny place for shady people" still applies. Although the conspicuous consumption has grown notably more conspicuous.
The yachts have become super-yachts - some so big they don't fit in the original harbour and resemble floating buildings rather than pleasure cruisers. The elegant villas are in danger of being swamped by modern skyscrapers. And every year there seem to be more supercars crawling around the streets.
Whatever one's feelings about this, though, they are apt to evaporate for a time when the Formula 1 cars go out on track.
Watch at Casino Square or in the tunnel or at Tabac or Piscine and the violence and awe involved in an F1 car on the limit around the streets takes your breath away.
It is F1 at its most raw, the incredible skill of the drivers and performance of the cars forcing a recalibration of one's sense of the possible. And an experience not to be missed.
BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson
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How to follow on BBC Sport
BBC Sport has live coverage of all the season's races on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, plus live online commentary on the BBC Sport website and mobile app - including audience interaction, expert analysis, debate, voting, features, interviews and video content.
|Monaco GP & Indy 500 coverage details (all times BST)|
|Date||Session||Time||Radio coverage||Online text commentary|
|Thursday, 25 May||First practice||08:55||BBC Radio 5 live sports extra||From 08:30|
|Second practice||12:55||BBC Radio 5 live sports extra||From 12:30|
|Preview||21:00||BBC Radio 5 live|
|Saturday, 27 May||Final practice||09:55||BBC Sport website||From 09:30|
|Qualifying||12:55||BBC Radio 5 live||From 11:55|
|Sunday, 28 May||Monaco GP||13:00||BBC Radio 5 live||From 11:30|
|Indy 500||From 17:00|
|Monday, 29 May||Review||04:30||BBC Radio 5 live, online and podcast|