The synonymous Monaco Grand Prix was the 6th round of the 2016 Formula 1 calendar and after a thrilling race in Barcelona with Mercedes' drama and history made, it was certainly a race not to miss. For any Formula One fan, this race is one which would be a dream to attend and for most of our guests it was their first trip out to Monaco. A sixteen strong team were in charge of getting the many guests from their preferred airport to their chosen hotel location and then onto the race track.
Friday came and after four flights, sixteen coaches and thirteen hotels, all our four day guests had arrived, checked in and were about to experience their first evening in their desired location, Cannes or Nice. Some people hopped straight on the train and undertook the Friday pit walk which was accessible to anyone with grandstand tickets. Our Telegraph travel clients were in for a treat at Stars and Bars, where they took part in a Q&A with the Telegraph's Formula One correspondent,Daniel Johnson, before embarking on the pit walk then heading to the Fairmont Hotel where they would meet five racing celebrities - David Coulthard, Adrian Newey, Martin Brundle, Paul di Resta and Allan McNish.
The first crucial day of the race weekend was qualifying and the coaches were loaded to leave at 8am. The traffic and parking was fantastic and left a short walk through some restaurant and café areas into the fan zone before reaching the circuit gates and grandstand signage. The weather certainly didn't disappoint and the 2pm qualifying was underway for just one lap before the first red flag. With Nasr out, qualifying recommenced only for the latest Grand Prix winner to become a cropper and hit the barrier. After the second red flag, Q3 ran its course - one unexpected turn was in Q2 when both Williams cars failed to make it into Q1. Many expected a Mercedes lock out as has been the norm this season, but Daniel Ricciardo took pole position followed by Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel and Hulkenberg.
The Monaco Grand Prix is extremely special, as after the racing finishes all the bars and restaurants directly next to the track open up and guests can decide at which venue they would like to spend their evening. Some guests stayed Saturday evening and returned to their hotels on the train, whereas others chose to do this after the race on Sunday.
Sunday race day brought some inclement weather for the 8am transfer but the early start meant the guests could enjoy some Porsche Supercup and Formula Renault 2.0 action prior to the race.
At 2pm, the 78 lap race started under the safety car - lap 8 finally saw the race go green as the rain had stopped. Magnussen made the change for intermediates, Ricciardo was pulling a 12 second gap on Rosberg before team orders switched Hamilton up to P2. Early casualties of the slippery track were Palmer and Raikkonen followed by Kyvat, Magnussen, Verstappen and both BMW Sauber cars who all retired from the race. Perez made good ground during his pit stop and Mercedes made an inspired strategy call and changed Hamilton from wet to dry tyres without running the intermediates. Red Bull lost the lead as Ricciardo’s dry tyres weren't ready for him and from there on Hamilton was in the driving seat. A great battle continued between the top two for the majority of the race but the damage was done. Hamilton took his first win of the season with Ricciardo second and Perez third. Championship leader Rosberg finished in 7th place at the flag.
Some guests stayed to party into the night down at the Rascasse with the atmosphere buzzing, whilst others opted for the organised coach transfer back to their hotel. My guests had the chance to watch the tail end of “Senna” or enjoy the coastal road views for the final time; both were a great way to end the action packed day. Monday's transfer times to the airport were clarified and they had the chance to enjoy their final evening.
Hamilton will hope to continue his winning ways into Montreal in two weeks' time, a track where he was victorious last season.
Zoe W. (PIctured: Luke, Lucy & Rob)