Monaco’s Grand Prix and the F1 Drivers who Live Here

Unrivalled skill, ferocious competition and heart-pumping adrenaline all come together when the fastest cars in the world blast through the winding, medieval streets of Monaco during the Grand Prix. Cutting edge technology and centuries-old history meet in an unforgettable spectacle that draws 100,000 people every year, or almost three times the population of the Principality.

The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix will take place on Sunday 26 May 2024. Between 1:40 pm and 1:50 pm, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlène will drive the honour lap before the race begins at 3 pm.
Widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world, the Monaco Grand Prix was first held in 1929 and has run continuously since 1955 (with the exception of 2020). Monaco is one of only four circuits that have been on the F1 calendar since the very beginning.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen © ACM Jean-Marc Follete

Monaco’s own, Charles Leclerc

Throughout history, many Grand Prix drivers have called Monaco home. Today, Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Nyck de Vries and Alex Albon are all champion drivers who live in the Principality. 

Born in the heart of Monaco, Charles Leclerc grew up immersed in F1 heritage. Taking inspiration from his father Hervé, who was a prominent F3 racer, Leclerc ascended the junior ranks with a talent that quickly caught the attention of F1 scouts. Leclerc was inducted into the Ferrari Driver Academy following his close friend, the late Jules Bianchi. Leclerc’s F1 career has seen him claim an incredible 5 victories, 31 podium finishes and 23 pole positions.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton moved to Monaco in 2012 when he purchased a luxury penthouse apartment. Ever since Hamilton’s announcement that he’ll be switching over to Ferrari for 2025, the news has been shaking the F1 world. This year will be the 103-time winner’s final season with Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton © ACM / Philippe Magoni

The move is being viewed as the biggest switch in the history of the sport. The seven-time World Champion will replace Carlos Sainz and join Charles Leclerc, who signed a multi-year contract extension with Ferrari in January 2024.

Nico Rosberg

Competing in Formula 1 from 2006 to 2016, Nico Rosberg won the World Drivers’ Championship in 2016 with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. He was raised primarily in the Principality and is friends with Prince Albert II. Nico Rosberg is the only child of Finnish 1982 Formula 1 World Champion Keke Rosberg and his German wife, Sina Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg with his wife Vivian Sebold © Jean Ronin for Hello Monaco


Daniil Kvyat

Russian professional driver Daniil Kvyat competed in Formula 1 between 2014–2017 and 2019–2020. He became the second Formula 1 driver from Russia and is the most successful of the four Russian drivers to date, with three podium finishes. Soon after he began racing competitively, the young driver made the move from Russia to Monaco.

Daniil Kvyat
Daniil Kvyat © Daniil Kvyat

Mika Häkkinen

The two-time Formula 1 champion participated in races from 1991 to 2001. Mika Häkkinen won the Monaco Grand Prix in 1998, seven years after moving to the Principality. “The flying Finn” is passionate about Monaco’s track, calling it “a special Grand Prix”.

Mika Häkkinen
Mika Häkkinen © Mika Häkkinen

David Coulthard

The Scottish racer participated in F1 championships from 1994 to 2008, is a resident of Monaco and has a close relationship with the Princely family. At one point, David Coulthard even opened the Columbus hotel in Fontvieille. Coulthard took part in 247 races, won 13 of them and reached the podium 62 times. His book ‘The Formula for Victory’ speaks about the importance of teamwork, motivation and which strategies are needed to win a Formula 1 race. Today he works as a renowned journalist and commentator.

David Coulthard
David Coulthard ©HelloMonaco

Thierry Boutsen

Belgian driver Thierry Boutsen began his F1 career in 1983 and spent 10 years on the track. After moving to Monaco, he launched his own company, Boutsen Aviation in 1997 with his wife Daniela. Boutsen competed in 163 World Championship Grand Prix races, winning three times, reaching the podium 15 times and scoring 132 career points.

Thierry Boutsen
© HelloMonaco

Felipe Massa

Competing in F1 racing in 2002 and from 2004 to 2017, Felipe Massa has had 11 Grand Prix victories, 41 podiums and finished as championship runner-up in 2008. The Brazilian’s second home is in Monaco.
In April 2018, Massa announced that he would be taking part in Formula E racing for Monaco’s Venturi Grand Prix. During his Formula E debut, Massa surprised his fans by competing against the fastest bird on Earth, the peregrine falcon. Although the bird can reach speeds of 320 km/h, Massa managed to overtake his feathered competitor and win the race.
Massa retired from Formula E in 2020 and returned to his homeland of Brazil, where he competes full time in the Stock Car Pro Series. He recently won 3rd place in the 2024 IMSA SportsCar Championship.

Lucas di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi has raced in Formula 3, Formula 1 WEC, and Formula E, winning the 2016–2017 Formula E driver’s championship. He has been named the best endurance driver, the best Formula E driver, and one of the most important figures in motorsport. A genius in engineering, Lucas di Grassi worked for many years as a test-driver, improving the mechanics of cars, from tires to efficiency. He currently resides in Monaco and is the CEO of Roborace driverless cars series.

Monaco E-Prix
Lucas Di Grassi, the winner of the first E-Prix in history in 2014, now competes for the Mahindra Racing team. © Hello Monaco

Monaco, the exception to the rule

Formula 1 races generally last between one-and-a-half and two hours with the distance of each race equal to the fewest number of laps to exceed 305 kilometres. Monaco, however, is the exception to that rule. The distance in Monaco is equal to the fewest number of laps needed to exceed 260 kilometres, given the lower speeds of its street circuit nature. The glamour and history of Monaco’s race are the primary reasons why the circuit is still in use, although it does not meet the strict safety requirements imposed on other tracks.

When was Monaco’s track built?

That’s up for debate! Some would say in June of 1215, when Monaco was first established as a colony of Genoa. However, Greek, Roman and Ligurian settlers preempted the rise of the Grimaldis and first created some of the paths and roads still used today.

What’s the circuit like?

Incredibly narrow and completely iconic. Three-time World champion Nelson Piquet famously said that racing in Monaco is “like riding a bicycle around your living room”. (Overtaking on the streets of Monaco proved to be impossible during the 2003 Grand Prix, which saw a grand total of zero passing moves from drivers!)

Where is the best place to watch?

If you don’t have insider access to one of the overhanging apartment blocks around the circuit (or access to a boat on the harbour) Grandstands L to P come highly recommended. They are located around the Swimming Pool section of the track and are where drivers lead their cars through the tight chicane at 200km/h. If you’re after an iconic view to go along with the race, Grandstand B overlooks the magnificent Casino Square.

Monaco’s Grand Prix in Numbers

Number of Laps: 78
Circuit Length: 3.337 km
Race Distance: 260.286 km
Lap Record: 1:12.909 Lewis Hamilton (2021)

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