Johnny Herbert: ‘Monaco Grand Prix gives you the biggest sensation on Earth!’

'Pole and win' - Ferrari's Charles Leclerc sets target ahead of Monaco GP

johnny herbert, monaco grand prix, johnny herbert: ‘monaco grand prix gives you the biggest sensation on earth!’

Johnny Herbert insists the feeling of driving around the Monaco street circuit is the “biggest sensation on Earth” ahead of Sunday’s grand prix.

Former British driver Herbert competed in Formula 1 from 1989-2000, most famously winning his home race at Silverstone in 1995, before going on to become a well-known face to viewers of Sky’s F1 coverage in the UK.

Yet before his rookie year, Herbert explains that his first experience of driving around the famous twists and turns of the principality actually came in Formula 3000, in 1988. It was then that he first realised the “immense challenge” of one of motorsport’s most famous tracks.

“The thrill you got from laps in F3 was fantastic,” Herbert says, in partnership with Vision4Sport.

“But the thrill of driving nearly 1,000 horsepower through the streets… I have to say it was the biggest sensation on Earth! It’s the best qualifying track, though the race is always a bit frustrating.”

Monaco is still an iconic race despite F1’s owners, Liberty Media, rapidly expanding in the United States. There are now three races stateside, with Miami and Las Vegas joining Austin in a record-breaking 24-race calendar this year.

Yet that hasn’t taken away from Monaco’s appeal and stardust and, as Herbert seemed keen to emphasise, many Americans still make the racing pilgrimage to the city-state every year.

“I’ve probably spoken to more American fans today than I have in the last five years,” Herbert says, on qualifying day in Monaco.

“It’s still Monaco. One American told me he remembers watching it as a kid and it was always on his bucket list. It’s still the golden race of the season in Formula 1. Monaco draws you in because, yes, it’s about the on track action but also the off track stuff draws you in. It’s the best event of the year.”

johnny herbert, monaco grand prix, johnny herbert: ‘monaco grand prix gives you the biggest sensation on earth!’
Johnny Herbert raced in Formula 1 at Monaco from 1989-2000 (Getty Images)

Herbert’s best finish in Monaco was third in 1996, a rare jump of 10 places having qualified in 13th. Yet his best qualifying performance was only seventh on the grid.

“It’s a different challenge – and a different mindset,” he reminisces. “The whole challenge is using as much of the track as you possibly can.

“Tabac (turn 12) was always my favourite section. In my day, you could kiss the barriers because we had the steel suspension – and it gives you a real tingly sensation!

“I always remember coming out of Tabac and the feeling of getting qualifying right.”

Johnny Herbert was speaking on Vision4Sport’s superyacht in Monaco ahead of an unforgettable weekend of hospitality and luxury sport experience

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