F1: The Grand Prix of Monaco, the world’s most glamorous race

Monte Carlo is the backdrop for Sunday's Grand Prix of Monaco
Monte Carlo is the backdrop for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Monaco

Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. ET NBC will present the Grand Prix of Monaco, simply put, the most glamorous race in all of motor sports. As always the race will be run on the streets of Monte Carlo, a city that has been featured in hundreds of movies including many James Bond films.

This Sunday you won’t see Bond sipping a drink on the terrace of the world-famous Place du Casino, but you will see some of the world’s best drivers roaring through the narrow city streets at upwards of 180 miles per hour. This week Sports Talk Florida had a chance to talk with two member of the NBC broadcast crew that will be on hand to call the race, play-by-play voice Leigh Diffey, motorsports analysts David Hobbs.

 Diffey on the storylines to watch for come Sunday:

We’ve got some terrific storylines with Mercedes this weekend. Can they continue their whitewash on the season, or is Red Bull going to bounce back with their four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel. I had lunch today with Daniel Ricciardo who’s been consistently outscoring Vettel. So there’s a good inter-team fight going on there. So there’s lots happening in the world of Formula One. But to be back at Monaco and to have it live on NBC on Sunday is going to be tremendous.

Hobbs on the importance of the race to the drivers:

Monaco is obviously like the Indy 500 or like the Daytona 500 — this is the race they all want to win. Half of them live here of course because it’s a low taxation zone.

But of course the track has been the same since the 1920s. It really has changed very, very little in all that time. It’s only a short track. It’s only just over two miles long.

And the average speed in spite of the fact that it has got a 19 corners stuffed into the two miles and it goes right through the city streets — it’s exactly the same shape it’s always been. It uses all the city streets — none of it’s extra. It’s all city streets. And it’s very tight. And of course for the drivers it’s particularly exacting. And one of the big problems here is qualifying.Because as I say it’s very narrow, there is no runoff area.

If you put a wheel over the edge, I mean the edge is the guardrail. So you have to be extremely precise all weekend. Everything counts on Saturday because it’s also extremely difficult to overtake here. So if you get near the front it’s very important to be on the front row or in the first couple of rows.

 Diffey on the importance of Saturday’s qualifying for the race:

Well I think and over the last 50 years, I think it’s something like 83% have won the race from like the top three positions. You know, if you qualify well here so long as everything goes to plan, I mean you can never be assured of a victory, but it certainly goes a long way.

So it’s going to be interesting for our Saturday broadcast; it puts a premium on our Saturday broadcast for qualifying well. You know, that generally transitions into a very successful race result.