The F1 race at Monaco is one of the most iconic races on the calendar and one of the most prestigious. A demanding street circuit with many sharp turns and elevation changes. It has never been off the F1 calendar. Along with the Le Mans 24 hours and the Indy 500, its forms the Triple Crown in motorsports.

Some of the greatest F1 drivers, made Monaco their favourite circuit, taking part in many battles with their arch rivals. No driver dominated this circuit, as much as Ayrton Senna who has a record 6 wins and 2 other podiums in 10 races here. It has been the site for certain upsets in  a race or witness to many important moments in F1.

A look at some of the most Iconic moments at Monaco.

1. 1996 Monaco Grand Prix

3 Finishers

The Sole win for Oliver Panis, and the last win by a Frenchman in F1.

Panis and Pedro Diniz qualified well down the order, as the Liger was misfiring all weekend. On Race day, during the warm up, Panis was the quickest. However, there was a shower prior to the race and an additional 15-minute window was added, to allow drivers to get used to the Wet conditions.

Olivier Panis celebrating his win. The 3 drivers on the podium were the only drivers to finish the race.
Olivier Panis celebrating his win. The 3 drivers on the podium were the only drivers to finish the race.

The start was chaotic. Andrea Montermini crashed during the warm-up lap and could not start the race. Lap one saw 5 cars, including pole sitter Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. However, Gerhard Berger who was running in 3rd, retired on lap 9 and Eddie Irvine was struggling the Ferrari.  Lap 31, which saw Martin Brundle retire, also saw Panis pass Irvine who had to restart his stricken Ferrari.

Damon Hill and Jean Alesi were in first and second.  After pitting for the dry weather tyres, Damon Hill’s race ended on Lap  40 when his engine blew out. Alesi then led for another 20 laps comfortably before a suspension failure caused the Frenchman’s retirement. Luca Badoer who was SIX laps down on the leaders , collided with Jacques Villeneuve to retire them both.

Eddie Irvine, who was running well behind the leaders, crashed coming out of the Lower Mirabeau. During the recovery, both Mika Salo and Mika Hakkinen crashed into them, leaving only 4 running cars. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who was a lap down on the leaders, pulled into the pits on the penultimate, as it was pointless.

Panis would finish ahead of David Coulthard and Johnny Herbert, with Frentzen being classified as 4th.

One of the smallest packs to ever finish a race. It would be the last win for the Liger team in F1.

2. 1992 Monaco Grand Prix

Nigel Mansell vs Ayrton Senna

The 1992 Monaco Grand Prix was an intense duel between defending champion Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell.

Mansell has been in the stunning form that year, using the powerful Williams FW14B to take 5 race wins heading into Monaco.  Senna had a mixed start, with 2 podium places , 3 retirements heading into Monaco. Yet he would feel confident, as Monaco was his playground, having taken 4 of the last 5 wins at the principality. Mansell would qualify strongly, with Senna well over  a second behind the Williams. Senna would finish 3rd in qualification.

Ayrton Senna (front) and Nigel Mansell (back) had an intense duel in the 1992 Grand Prix
Ayrton Senna (front) and Nigel Mansell (back) had an intense duel in the 1992 Grand Prix

At the start of the race, Mansell performed very well. Senna also passed Mansell’s teammate Patrese to move into 2nd. Mansell would hold a comfortable lead over Senna for much of the race. Lap 60 was a near disaster for Senna when Michele Alboreto spun his car in front of the McLaren. Senna lost 10 seconds to Mansell.

However, lap 70 forced Mansell into the pits for a suspected puncture (which turned out to be a loose wheel nut) for a new set of tyres. He would emerge 5 seconds behind Senna. He would close the gap and in the last 3 laps, they’d duel.

Senna was able to second guess every move made by Mansell and held off the charging Williams to take his 5th win at Monaco.  Their duel over the last 3 laps has been considered one of the finest spectacles in F1 history.

While Senna put the trouble start of the season behind him, Mansell held a tremendous advantage at the top would dominate the season to take his maiden title in 1992.

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