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Monaco Grand Prix - facts and figures 20 May 2008

Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF107.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2007 Jean-Pierre Beltoise (FRA) BRM P160B drove the race of his life in the terrible conditions to claim his first and only GP victory. Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, 14 May 1972. World © Phipps/Sutton Second place finisher Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren celebrate with the champagne. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 27 May 2007 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 27 May 2007 Race Winner Graham Hill (GBR) BRM P261. Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 10 May 1964. World © Phipps/Sutton

Round six of the 2008 season takes the teams to Monte Carlo for the most prestigious motor race in the world. The annual dash through the Principality's tortuous streets is a unique test of man and machine performed in front of the glamorous backdrop of the Monaco harbour.

Ahead of this weekend’s race, often referred to as the jewel in the crown of Formula One, we take a look back at its history and cherry pick some fascinating facts about the Grand Prix every driver dreams of winning…

- The Monaco Grand Prix is not only one of the most glamorous races on the Formula One racing calendar, it is also one of the oldest. Run on the tight and twisting streets of Monte Carlo, the event was first held back in 1929 and won by British driver W Williams for Bugatti.

- Since 1950, Monaco has hosted 54 Grands Prix but it is only since 2004 that there have been garages for the cars along the pit lane. Prior to that, teams had to push the cars back and forth between makeshift garages in the paddock or an underground garage for each practice and qualifying session and the race.

- Graham Hill, who was nicknamed the ‘King of Monaco', won the celebrated race on five occasions including three successive victories from 1963 to 1965, all for BRM. He returned to the top step of the podium again for Lotus in 1968 and 1969.

- Michael Schumacher also clinched victory in Monte Carlo five times, while Alain Prost took four victories and Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart each won on three occasions. But the record of wins in the Principality resides with the legendary Ayrton Senna, who won six times.

- Of the current crop of drivers, Red Bull’s David Coulthard and Renault’s Fernando Alonso have been the most successful, each clinching victory on two occasions.

- The Monaco circuit is the shortest Grand Prix track on the calendar at 3.340 kilometres. The race distance of 260.520 kilometres is the shortest of the season and nowhere else does a race cover more laps (78).

- Monaco is the world's second smallest independent state (after the Vatican). Its 1.97 square kilometres comprise the districts of Monte Carlo, La Condamine, Fontvieille, Le Larvotto, Les Moneghetti and Monaco Ville. The total population of the state is 33,300, which means Monaco boasts the highest population density of any state in the world.

- McLaren have scored the most victories at the Monaco race (14) and in 2007 recorded their 150th win at the race courtesy of Fernando Alonso. The second most successful team at the track is Ferrari with eight, while Lotus clinched seven, including their maiden victory in 1960.

- the Monte Carlo event is renowned for throwing up surprise results. In 1972 Jean-Pierre Beltoise took a storming win in the wet - it would remain his only victory in the sport, while in 1996, fellow Frenchman Olivier Panis took his first, and Ligier's last Formula One victory at the race.

- Aside from Beltoise and Panis, Juan Manuel Fangio (1950), Maurice Trintignant (1955), Jack Brabham (1959), Denny Hulme, Patrick Depailler (1978), Riccardo Patrese (1982), and Jarno Trulli (2004) all recorded their first Formula One victories at the Monte Carlo race.

- With the Monaco Grand Prix a must-see event, plenty of famous faces flock to the circuit. Last year movie mogul George Lucas, actors Jude Law and Jean Reno, and chef Gordon Ramsey were all spotted in the Monte Carlo paddock, while in the past Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Hugh Grant and Roman Abramovich have attended.

- drivers must change gear a staggering 54 times per lap at Monaco, meaning more than 4,200 changes over the course of the race. Just 42 percent of the lap is spent at full throttle, with the longest period of full-throttle running a mere eight seconds.

- such is the Monaco Grand Prix's profile and history that it retains many of the traditions from the inaugural race staged in 1929. The most idiosyncratic of these customs is the expansion of the race weekend to four days, with the on-track action starting a day earlier than usual, on Thursday.