Williams Formula One driver Pastor Maldonaldo of Venezuela drives during the first practice session of the Monaco F1 Grand Prix

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?

Sainz uninjured, but to remain in hospital overnight

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Carlos Sainz Jr. will remain in hospital overnight following a terrifying crash during practice for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday morning.

Sainz slammed into the wall at turn 13 after losing control of his car, pitching in underneath the TecPro barrier at the end of the run-off area.

Medical crews spent 20 minutes extricating Sainz from his car due to the barriers’ placement before he was taken away to hospital for a check-up.

Sainz tweeted a picture to his followers confirming that he was okay, and Toro Rosso has now released a second statement confirming that the Spaniard was fully conscious throughout the crash and is uninjured.

“After arriving at the Sochi Hospital 4, Carlos Sainz, who never lost consciousness, underwent a medical examination, including a full body scan,” the statement reads. “The scan showed that the driver has no injuries.

“However, he will be staying in the hospital overnight as a precautionary measure, which is the normal procedure in these circumstances.

“We will release further information when it is available.”

Sainz tweeted that he was hoping to convince the doctors to release him from hospital early enough so that he could take part in tomorrow’s race, but any steps taken will be with his well-being in mind.

Rosberg charges to Russian GP pole in Sochi

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Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix from pole position after topping the timesheets in Saturday’s qualifying session at the Sochi Autodrom.

Rosberg posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.113 to edge out Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by three-tenths of a second to score pole position in Russia.

Following on from its dominant display in Japan two weeks ago, Mercedes showed few signs of easing up at the front of the field as it stormed to another front-row lock-out.

Having traded fastest lap times throughout the earlier stages of qualifying, Hamilton and Rosberg renewed their battle in Q3 at Sochi, but it was Rosberg who finished on top.

Rosberg drew early blood in Q3 by going three-tenths faster than his teammate on his first run, and when Hamilton locked up late on and opted to pit, pole was safely with the German driver.

Valtteri Bottas finished as the best of the rest in third place, beating the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen who finished fifth and sixth respectively as all of the drivers struggled to improve on their second runs.

Nico Hulkenberg and Force India teammate Sergio Perez will start sixth and seventh, while Romain Grosjean qualified eighth. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten in P9 and P10 respectively.

Home favorite Daniil Kvyat was unable to delight the local fans as he would have liked to in qualifying, dropping out in Q2 by finishing 11th ahead of Felipe Nasr. Pastor Maldonado was also eliminated, finishing 14th, but it was Felipe Massa who was the biggest casualty of the second session, ending up 15th for Williams.

McLaren experienced something of a mixed qualifying session on Saturday as Fernando Alonso was knocked out at the end of Q1. Teammate Jenson Button managed to improve late on to dump the Spaniard out and leave him 16th overall, while the Briton went on to finish 13th in Q2.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson also dropped out at the first hurdle alongside the two Manor drivers, while Carlos Sainz Jr. took no part in the session following his practice crash. The Spaniard still hopes to take part in tomorrow’s race, but will remain in hospital overnight.