A lap of Monaco with McLarens David Coulthard 21 May 2004
Double Monaco Grand Prix winner, Monte Carlo resident and McLaren race driver David Coulthard describes a flying lap of the famous street circuit.
For a map of the circuit layout, please click here.
A lap of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit starts on the pit straight, which has a gentle curve to the right along its entire length. You reach 170mph / 273kph in sixth gear before braking hard as the track inclines for the infamous tight, bumpy, right of Sainte Devoite, which is a virtual 90-degree corner taken at 50mph / 80kph in second gear and is usually the scene of first corner incidents.
Accelerating up the Beau Rivage climb, your speed reaches 170mph / 273kph in sixth gear as you approach the long left of Massanet, which is negotiated at 85mph / 136kph in third. Keeping close to the inside curb through Massanet, you dab the brakes slightly for the bumpy right of Casino Square, which is taken at 80mph / 128kph, still in third.
A burst of acceleration follows, reaching some 130mph / 209kph in fourth gear on the downhill approach to the bumpy right-hander of Mirabeau. Keeping tight to the right as you reach the hairpin, you shift down through the gears to take Mirabeau at 50mph / 80kph in second gear. This is a possible overtaking opportunity.
A short spurt of gas takes you to the Grand Hotel Hairpin, the tightest, slowest corner on the circuit, which requires full lock to negotiate it and sees the track continue to plunge downhill and your speed drop to below 30mph / 48kph in first gear.
Two sharp right handers follow both in second gear, with a maximum speed of 55mph / 88kph, the second of which leads you to the entrance to the Tunnel. You have to be careful here as the armco on the exit is not straight. Pushing hard on the throttle, you sweep through the covered right-hand curve, which is the only flat out section of the track. You reach the maximum speed on the circuit, 175mph / 281kph in seventh, as you burst back out into daylight by the sea wall.
Braking hard for the left-right Nouvelle chicane, your speed drops to 30mph / 48kph, before accelerating out along the run to Tabac. This fast left-hander is taken at 89mph / 143kph in third. Entering the swimming pool complex, your speed increases to just over 130mph / 209kph in fourth gear for the first section of the left-right kink, before braking to negotiate the slower, revised section, which now sees a tighter entrance, at 70mph / 112kph.
Another short period of acceleration follows as you continue along the harbour front, which sees you reach 120mph / 193kph in third on the approach to the Rascasse. This sharp, right-hand hairpin, which poses a difficult braking manoeuvre as you swing round 180 degrees is taken at 30mph / 48kph in first gear. A short uphill straight leads to the final corner, which is taken in second at 45mph / 72kph, before accelerating up the hill along the pit straight to start another lap.