2022 AM Wings_Mono Negative
Feature

Monaco: A lap of F1's original street circuit in unparalleled detail

Pedro Monaco lap hairpin

As we celebrate what it means to be An Original with our partner Valvoline, Aston Martin Aramco Team Ambassador and former Formula One driver Pedro de la Rosa puts you behind the wheel at Monaco. Strap yourself in. This is a lap of F1's original street circuit like you've never seen or heard before, in Pedro's own words.

You throw everything at it. And when you throw everything at it, you don't really know if you will survive. Going 200 per cent and stepping into the unknown. No traffic, new tyres, the dying moments of the Qualifying session, that's when you have to put everything together and take all the risks...

Floor it. Pit straight, open DRS. Flat out on the run to Saint Devote.

Searching for your braking point; just past the 100-metre board, hit the brakes hard. Don't lock the fronts. Downshift to third. The circuit dips, the Armco narrows – you're as close as you can get to the barrier on the left-hand side. Throw the car into the 90-degree right-hander and clip the inside kerb without touching it. Open the steering, ever so slightly, use every millimetre of the track on exit.

Brush the wall.

Full throttle up Beau Rivage, the car bumps over the crest of the hill. Sky, asphalt, Armco. Sky, asphalt, Armco. That’s all you can see before the blind left-hander Massenet.

The trick is to hardly brake. Brake very gently. Let the engine braking slow you down into the corner. Throw the car in with a lot of speed. Downshift gradually… bang… bang… bang, so that you don't kill the speed of the car on entry with the brakes. Keep the speed with the confidence that the downforce will stop you and the engine braking will stop you, but you will be fast in and make sure you brush the wall on the inside left.

Casino. A flick of the wheel to the right. Position the car downhill into Mirabeau. It's not easy to open the throttle comfortably – there is a big crest to avoid so that all four wheels stay touching the asphalt.

Brake super late – as late as you dare for Mirabeau. The unloaded front right tyre loses contact with the asphalt for a split second. It's a three-wheeler. It's the fastest way around but you have to go in very early. Get all the rubber that is on the inside by throwing the car in earlier than what your brain is telling you.

A blip of throttle until the hairpin. Turn 180 degrees. Hands on the wheel: fast, accurate, agile. Hold on tight.

Pedro Monaco lap hairpin
Pedro Monaco lap hairpin

Immediately into a right-hander. Aggressive on the entry, clip the inside kerb where there's more rubber. Feel the grip. A blip of throttle – don't touch the brakes. Turn the car into Portier – the closer you get to the Armco, the more grip you find.

Get on the power early. Flat through the tunnel – almost 300km/h. A moment to think in the shadows. A chance to prepare for what's to come.

Daylight.

Downhill and hit the brakes just after the bump to not unsettle the car. Brake in a straight line and brake hard – five times the force of gravity pulling your head from your shoulders.

Aggressive on entry, graze the Armco on the inside. A quick change of direction through the chicane – left-right. The car jumps over the kerb, keep it controlled and in a straight line. Careful on the throttle, keep the wheelspin at bay.

Accelerate up through second, third, fourth gear on the run to Tabac. The most difficult corner. You don't see anything apart from a wall and the Armco. The wall is telling you, 'Don't make a mistake.'

Maximum commitment. Throw the car to the inside, as close to the Armco as you dare.

Pedro Monaco lap in line 2
Pedro Monaco lap in line 2

Back on the throttle. Do not lift entering the Swimming Pool chicane. Do not hesitate – precision is key. Another blind entry. Another quick left-right. Go in too deep and the barrier is waiting.

The exit of Swimming Pool – a beautiful corner. The trick is just releasing the brakes, throwing the car in with speed and just believing the car can do it because it has so much grip.

More speed. More downforce. More laptime.

Back on the throttle. Two corners to go.

Rascasse. Aggressive on entry, but the tyres are screaming, 'Enough!' Take a tight line and keep close to the second apex of the corner. Half a metre too wide and the grip will be gone.

Floor it between Rascasse and Anthony Noghes – the easiest corner on the circuit. It's just a matter of not making a mistake.

Exit the corner in one piece, you're the happiest person on Earth...

Valvoline

Originals Never Stop

DISCOVER MORE
Original never stops hero desktop
You. Us. Together.

I / AM membership

The ultimate fan experience.

Get closer to the team with unparalleled access, behind-the-scenes insights and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and enjoy exclusive competitions, rewards, offers and more.

JOIN NOW
I / AM banner