Monaco Grand Prix combines glamour, glory and risk (VIDEO)

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What comes to mind first when you think of the Monaco Grand Prix?

Money, perhaps? You can’t really blamed for that thought. Formula One’s stature as a billion-dollar enterprise enables it to fit in perfectly with the sophisticated surroundings of Monte Carlo. Or maybe it’s the massive amount of star power that comes in for this event every year — supermodels, movie stars, rock stars and other manner of celebrity. Then there’s the track itself, an unforgiving street circuit that may be Formula One’s slowest track but is also perhaps its most difficult. In this day and age, it’s strikingly out of place when placed against the more modern facilities that play host to the World Championship.

Finally, there’s risk. Monaco is an inherently risky place when you think about it. The city’s legendary casino, which the Circuit de Monaco passes by, makes you wonder just how many people have gone for broke inside its grand halls over the years (safe to assume, it’s probably a lot). And on the Circuit de Monaco, you have to do the same, really. Every lap around Monte Carlo is run on a knife’s edge, right up to those forbidding guardrails, inches from disaster.

Altogether, the race is unlike anything else in Formula One and the world. Unmatched for its atmosphere and its difficulty, it is the one the drivers want more than any other and the one that makes them earn their paychecks more than any other. When you watch this race (Sunday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBC or live online via Live Extra), you know you’re seeing world-class racers at their very best.

And isn’t that what we all want to see?

Hartley says debut F1 point would be ‘a dream’ from last on grid

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Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.

Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.

“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.

“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”

The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.

“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.

“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.