Columns Motorsport Trentham Sleaves

2014 Monaco GP preview

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F1 journalist TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks forward to this weekend’s race.

trenthamsleaves1For me, the Monaco Grand Prix is the very essence of this sport we call Formula 1. If, like me, you’ve been more times than you care to remember you’ll know how it’s impossible to get bored of the unique atmosphere in the VIP paddock, the magnificent Mediterranean view from your VIP hotel balcony nor of course the legendary VIP parties!

Discretion prevents me mentioning the name of the infamous Monaco restaurant in which I dined alone on Wednesday evening nor the name of the infamous F1 legend who was also eating there but suffice to say Michel in the kitchen had done a typically exquisite job with the bouillabaisse and a certain 1996 F1 world champion was on fine form! ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know who you are and I’m trying to have a private conversation here if you don’t mind!’ the latter quipped as we chatted.

Following dinner, I made my way into the infamous harbour area with a wave of my AAA pass and headed towards the infamous Greuville champagne party. En route, as the locals say, I saw none other than infamous guitar legend Eric Clapton walking towards me. I’ve known Eric for many years and know all too well his cheeky sense of humour. ‘I’m sorry, I’m late and I can’t stop for a picture!’ he quipped as he kept walking in the opposite direction. Legendary!

No sooner had the infamous axeman disappeared into the night than I bumped into infamous ex-Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine walking down the quayside. Eddie is an old mate who’s always ready with a quick witted retort and this evening was no exception. ‘Jesus, they’re still letting this twat in!’ he quipped to his female companion as he walked past. Hilarious!

Finally, I made it to the infamous Greuville bash. On board one of the biggest yachts in the harbour, the great and the good of the infamous Monaco scene were partying the night away and I could see many of them from the gangplank where I chatted with my old friend, infamous Monaco party planner Kitty du Bouvais. ‘Your name isn’t on the list and there’s no way you’re coming in you tiresome little man!’ she quipped. Wonderful!

Of course, it’s easy to forget that the Monaco race weekend is also about motorsport, the big question being, who will take the chequered flag on Sunday. Earlier today I bumped into my old chum, the infamous racing legend Allan McNish and asked his opinion on the race. ‘Oh God, not you again. Piss off!’ he quipped. Priceless!

My own opinion is that Red Bull could be strong, but you wouldn’t discount Williams and it would be foolish to ignore Ferrari whilst Force India have the power to surprise and of course Mercedes are the top dogs. If you pushed me, however, I’d say it’s anyone’s race. Whatever the outcome, of course I’ll be in the thick of it to enjoy all the action. Because, at the end of the day,  I’m here and you’re not.