Two words are on my mind as I sit down to write this review of Saturday’s weather at the Monaco Grand Prix and look ahead to what lies in store tomorrow – Mont Agel. Standing at 3,766 feet, this is the mountain that you see beyond Monte Carlo. Over the years it has become the downfall of many a Formula 1 forecaster – and today was no exception.
Convection did build over the Alps between the end of free practice and qualifying, but not nearly fast enough to deliver the predicted showers for this afternoon’s knockout session. One driver who proved that he was fast enough round the narrow streets was Michael Schumacher, who scorched round the 2.075 mile circuit in 1m14.301s to top the qualifying order. The fact that he carried a five-place grid penalty into the session must wrankle with the German, as he ponders what might have been this evening – no matter what he said in public after qualifying was over.
Track temperature rocketed up to 47 degrees this afternoon and may have been a contributing factor to some surprising performances. Sebastian Vettel complained that his RB8 was ‘bouncing all over the place like a rabbit’ on the team radio, while the two Lotus drivers never really got it together. Romain Grosjean at least managed to make the best of a bad job, ending the session in fifth – which will of course become a second row start once Schumacher’s penalty takes effect.
This evening, showers are sliding away to the west of the principality and this should leave a dry and pleasant night, with temperatures dipping no lower than 17 Celsius.
Sunday Forecast – Monaco and Indianapolis
So, we move ahead to race day and as we mentioned 24 hours ago CAPE values were predicted to be lower, meaning less chance of showers than on Saturday. In fact, the convective energy forecast has decreased further and it is now virtually certain that we will have a dry 78-lap race with some sunny spells.
Tomorrow morning will dawn dry and there will be plenty of morning sunshine, but again as we move through to the afternoon, one or two patches of cloud may drift in over the circuit. With better conditions generally, air temperature will reach 21 degrees Celsius, while the light, variable breeze that has become a feature of the weekend will continue.
After the race, attention from many racing fans around the world will switch across the Atlantic Ocean to Indianapolis. The latest word on tomorrow’s Indy 500 is that it could be one of the hottest races ever contested at the brickyard. Air temperature is expected to get up to a whopping 34 Celsius / 95 Farenheit and you can only think that track temperature – with that diamond-cut surface – will go through the roof. The race will definitely become a battle of stamina and whoever wins will deserve every plaudit.
Given the forecasts so far for Monaco, you know what will happen when we get to tomorrow, right? It will be like 1984 all over again… In all seriousness that shouldn’t happen and we will end up with a dry but eventful race.
Lewis Hamilton should be interesting to watch from third on the grid, while Vettel and Button are likely to provide early action in the midfield. Pastor Maldonado has also taken a gearbox change and will drop a further five places on the grid. He will therefore start alongside his nemesis from this morning, Sergio Perez – fireworks on standby.
So that’s it for the Monaco weather. As always, I will be glued to the satellite and radar loops, and the tweet stream on the right-hand side of this page will have the latest information – if conditions deviate from the forecast.
The next entry on this site will be on Monday 4th June, looking ahead to round seven in Canada, but until then, enjoy tomorrow’s feast of great racing.