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?

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

Photo: IndyCar
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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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