By Kyle Cumbers

The Monaco Grand Prix creates a great debate on The NR F1 Podcast every year, over whether it’s just a gimmick race or a classic grand prix essential to the Formula 1 calendar?

Personally, I fall on the side that it is essential to F1 with the history the track provides and the classic battles it has hosted through the years.

It is also a great challenge to the drivers and a track where a driver can make more of a difference to the lap time compared to others around the world.

It’s also very important to sponsors, who love the glamour of the weekend – which can be intoxicating enough to get new deals over the line.

There will be a few bets in Casino de Monte-Carlo this weekend as well, but I will be sticking to events on the track – here my bets for the weekend…

1: The Monaco race last year was probably the first time we didn’t see Daniel Ricciardo smile – and he had every right to be in a foul mood after his Red Bull team made an error with his pit stop, which prevented the Aussie from taking victory. Ricciardo seems to enjoy the Monaco track and was quick on Thursday, so I was surprised to see his odds so high. This bet may need a bit of luck – but with the odds so high and Monaco’s ability to defy logic, it is worth a go.

Daniel Ricciardo to win the race: 10/1 (Bet365, Betfair, Betfred, BetVictor, Betway, Boylesports, Paddy Power, SkyBet, Stan James & William Hill)

2: Kimi Raikkonen has had a poor start to the season and needs to bounce back soon. The Ferrari appears to be the fastest car given what we saw in Thursday free practice, so far the Ice Man has a great opportunity of achieving a podium. This could be Kimi’s last race around the streets of Monte Carlo, and hopefully it will be a good one.

Kimi Raikkonen to finish on the podium: 2/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes & SkyBet)

MORE: Get involved in The NR F1 Podcast Prediction League 

3: I still find it bizarre Fernando Alonso will be racing on the other side of the Atlantic this weekend, when McLaren are desperate for Formula 1 points. So it falls on young Stoffel Vandoorne and the retired Jenson Button to pick up the points for Woking’s favourites. McLaren keep telling us how brilliant their chassis is and this is the weekend to show us. Free Practice 2 was reasonably promising for Vandoorne and I think he will pick up some points this weekend – they would be the first for McLaren this year. He has also won around the streets before, in GP2.

Stoffel Vandoorne to finish in the points: 7/4 (Betfair, Boylesports & Paddy Power)

As always, good luck to us all and please remember to bet responsibly.

Kyle Cumbers is a member of the NRF1 Podcast crew. Follow Kyle on Twitter @kcumbers

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