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Natalie Pinkham Previews The Monaco Grand Prix

Sky Sports Formula 1 presenter Natalie Pinkham on why you need to watch the showdown between Hamilton and Rosberg this weekend

Don’t underestimate Monaco

“It’s the crown jewel of Formula 1. Not only is it the hardest race for the driver to get right, but it’s a real test of mental and physical strength because the roads are
so hard to master.”

Rosberg’s shake-up

“Monaco comes with its own unique set of subplots, and this is one of them. Rosberg is second in the table, and his recent Spanish Grand Prix win will fire Lewis up even more. The extremely controversial qualifying moment between the two of them was only 12 months ago [when Hamilton thought Rosberg intentionally compromised his final flying lap], which led to Nico putting himself on pole. That’s going to be fresh in their minds.”

There are tensions in the Mercedes camp

“I think Hamilton and Rosberg like each other, but when the visor goes down, all bets are off. And I don’t think you can be truly mates with a teammate, ironically. Ultimately they’re your biggest competitors because you’re in the same car. They’re your closest yardstick. The one person you want to beat is your teammate – especially in Monaco.”

But Hamilton will be fighting back  

“I don’t know if payback for [last year] is the right term, but Hamilton is his own harshest critic. He’s only won there once which, by his very high standards, isn’t enough. He told me that now he’s got an incredible championship-winning car, he wants to prove its worth. It can be done, Rosberg has proved it and he wants the crown again.”

This race is crucial

“Hamilton has a cushion of 20 points but that isn’t much in F1, especially when we’re not even halfway through the season. He said he’s pleased Rosberg won in Spain because it’s spiced up things for the championship.”

Everything’s to play for

“I thought Lewis was going to win in Barcelona, but one thing I’ve learned is not to makes predictions in F1. Just when you think someone is on good form, they go and surprise you by doing something out of character. But qualifying is crucial for Monaco. If you fluff up then you give yourself little chance of doing well in the race. It’s a skinny, twisty course and it’s difficult to overtake. You make a mistake in Monaco and you’re out of the race. They say a week is a long time in politics; it’s even longer in F1.”

The Monaco Grand Prix will be exclusively live on Sky Sports F1

(Images: PA/Sky)