Weekend Preview: 26/27 May 2018

Some of the many things happening this weekend and this really is a busy one!

Set aside your Sunday. It is a Bank Holiday in the UK, you’ve got Monday to see the family, so settle in and let’s watch some racing!

For me and many in the UK/Europe the main double is the Monaco GP followed immediately by the Indy 500, which should be the highlight of the day.

If you live in the US you might prefer to start with Indy and move on to the Coke 600 at Charlotte.

Some brave souls will watch all three!

Times are approximate and in British Summer Time.

Monaco:  2:10pm – 4:10pm
Indy 500:  5:15pm   <– I highly recommend tuning in no later than 4:50pm


Formula 1: Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco

Race at 2:10pm UK Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1 (3:10pm Monaco time).

The famous streets of Monaco open our day. As ever, Saturday’s qualifying will set the agenda at this track more than anywhere else. After last year’s race I don’t expect any overtaking at all, it’s tough here anyway but faster, wider cars with a lot of aero wake makes it even harder. It is still a joy to watch the drivers thread their way through this insanely narrow track, negotiating traffic, trying to avoid the walls especially in qualifying.

Engine power can be less of an issue here where handling is rewarded. As such, Red Bull are tipped to again be fast this weekend, one of their annual highlights. You might think McLaren and Toro Rosso will have a good time as well.

And if it rains, at this place it changes everything.

If there are no red flags or delays the race should end about 4pm. By that time the TV coverage of the Indy 500 will be well under way so switch over as soon as you can!

Points
Drivers:
95 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes);
78  Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari);
58  Valterri Bottas (Mercedes);
48  Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari);
47  Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull);
33  Max Verstappen (Red Bull);

Constructors:
153  Mercedes AMG;
126  Scuderia Ferrari;
80  Red Bull Racing;
41  Renault F1;
41  McLaren Renault;


IndyCar: 102nd Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Coverage 3:30pm UK, BT Sport 2
Race 5:15pm UK

A large build-up thanks to BT Sport, this year with a promise to mix pre-race pictures from the US along with the usual UK-based fill-in commentators, who know the series and understand the Indy 500. A much better decision than blanking the whole pre-race in favour of showing us a London studio, as they did last year!

This the first Indy 500, the first superspeedway race, with new universal aero kits. According to Racer.com’s daily videos the likes of Dario Franchitti and Simon Pagenaud say the fight for the lead will be fun but the battles through the field won’t be quite so good due to the aero wash being so severe. Downforce levels are similar though. Let’s wait and see.

This race has been the highlight of any season – across any category – since 2012 and I hope this year will be no exception.

Lots of storylines to follow. Local man and team-owner Ed Carpenter starts on pole, can he get his first Indy 500 win? Team-mate Danica Patrick in her swansong starts 7th and surely will have a good race. Simon Pagenaud a fast fighting 2nd in qualifying. Helio Castroneves starts 8th, it looks a tall order to get his 4th win here but he’s Helio and at Indy you never rule him out.

Seb Bourdais starts as top Honda (5th) and with a point to prove after last year, a strong rookie field with Mathias Leist and Zachary Claman de Melo looking to overshadow Robert Wickens, then throw in guys like Alexander Rossi and Graham Rahal starting at the back.

There are 200 points available in the next week:  100 for winning Indy, then 50 each for the “Dual in Detroit” double-header next weekend. Here are the top 6 in points as they are after qualifying – expect them to look very different by June 3rd.

Points:
184  Josef Newgarden (Team Penske / Chevrolet)  2 wins
176  Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport / Honda)  1 win
157  Sebastian Bourdais (Dale Coyne / Honda)  1 win
148  Scott Dixon (Ganassi / Honda)
144  James Hinchcliffe (Schmidt Peterson / Honda)
142  Will Power (Penske / Chevy)  1 win


Elsewhere

  • NASCAR Charlotte;
  • F2 Monaco;
  • Indy Lights Indianapolis (Friday);
  • World Superbike Donington Park;
  • Super Formula Sugo;
  • World RallyCross Silverstone;
  • British GT Snetterton;
  • PWC Lime Rock;
  • 24H Series 12H Imola;

Whatever you watch this weekend enjoy the racing!

Next time:  IndyCar and IMSA at Detroit, MotoGP at Mugello.

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