Monaco Grand Prix: Racing on Lewis Hamilton's doorstep

Monaco Grand Prix
Monaco Grand Prix

The next round of the battle between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will take place on their own doorsteps when glamorous Monte Carlo plays host to Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton withstood pressure from Rosberg to edge victory in Spain - his fourth successive win - as the German was forced into second place again.

In doing so, the 2008 world champion seized the championship lead for the first time in 2014, moving three points clear of Rosberg. Can Hamilton extend that lead on the streets of Monaco or will Rosberg respond following his victory there last year?

Reasons to watch the Monaco GP

The magic of Monaco

Drivers will try to master the twists and turns of Monaco's street circuit while fans will witness the sight of F1 cars kissing barriers. And sometimes smashing into them.

Hamilton targets a fifth successive win this season, while Rosberg aims to win his second Monaco Grand Prix in a row - everyone else tries to stop Mercedes winning.

Sebastian Vettel thinks Red Bull could rival Mercedes on the streets of Monte Carlo, Ferrari are targeting their first victory since Barcelona last year, Williams continue their push for a first podium since May 2012.

What makes the Monaco GP different?

As the world's second smallest country behind Vatican City, Monaco swells to breaking point for five days in May when the Formula 1 teams roll in.

Fans can get right up close to the action, sitting in grandstands peering over Armco barriers to see their favourite drivers whizz by, while those who can afford it take in the action from any one of the multi-million pound yachts in the harbour or from the balconies of Monaco's many five-star hotels.

The track itself is a physical and mental challenge with the slightest mistake being heavily punished. The average lap speed is just 151kph, and the drivers are on full throttle for 54% of the lap - but with barriers at every corner and little to no run-off, the spectacle is just as thrilling.

It is the only track to feature a tunnel, the slowest corner on the F1 calendar - the Fairmont hairpin - and it doesn't even have a podium, with the three drivers walking up the red carpet to the royal box to receive their trophies.

The glitz and glamour always attracts the celebrities, with the likes of Will Smith and the Manchester City squad enjoying the hospitality and access to the grid on race day in recent years.

A Monaco GP flashback

Frenchman Olivier Panis won the war of attrition in the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, the Frenchman being the first of only three drivers to cross the line and finish the race to clinch his first and only F1 win.

Damon Hill took the lead from pole-sitter Michael Schumacher, with the German then losing control of his Ferrari at Mirabeau later in the lap.

Williams' Hill built up a sizeable lead before a gearbox issue saw his race end on lap 40. Benetton's Jean Alesi inherited the lead, but his suspension failed 20 laps later.

Panis, who had been making good progress in his Ligier, then found himself in the lead, with McLaren's David Coulthard behind and only five other cars still in the race.

Eddie Irvine then crashed in the same place as Ferrari team-mate Schumacher. As he tried to rejoin, he was hit by the Tyrrell of Mika Salo, who in turn was hit by the McLaren of Mika Hakkinen.

Only Heinz-Harald Frentzen was still running, in last place, but he pulled into the pits on the penultimate lap, so everyone else had seen the chequered flag.

Panis gave Ligier its first win in 15 seasons, with Coulthard finishing second and Johnny Herbert third. Frenzten was classified fourth, ahead of Salo and Hakkinen.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage details.