2017 Monaco Grand Prix Preview: The glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo. Monaco. Circuit de Monaco. The Monaco Grand Prix. Every Formula 1 fan knows the history and legends of the past around the Monegasque streets.

The world-famous circuit and harbour has been the scene of many a historic and memorable moment, but will the 2017 race add to the echoes of the past?

Anything can happen at Monaco, the form-book often goes out the window. It is a circuit where the driver can make the difference, especially through Sector 3 - the Swimming Pool chicane in particular. Get it wrong, of course, and that's that for another 12 months.

What to look out for

The biggest news this weekend, is off-track, as 2009 winner and World Champion Jenson Button makes a one-off return for McLaren, replacing Fernando Alonso who is busy at Indy this weekend, qualifying fifth for the 500.

Button has made it clear that this is only a one-off return and he does not want to race in F1 for a full season, and that he intends to have a lot of fun this weekend. It is McLaren's best chance of points this season, and with Sauber scoring four points in Barcelona, the team must break its duck on Sunday.

Meanwhile, up front, the battle between Mercedes and Ferrari should be interesting. The SF70-H is arguably the faster car as a package, as the Mercedes has a smaller set-up window, but does have a Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel.

Whatever, happens, Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will continue their battle royale for the title, and who knows, might we get a Senna-Mansell duel between them on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Red Bull has played down its chances this weekend, despite Monaco being a classic 'Chassis circuit'. Despite claiming a podium in Barcelona, the RB13 was still more than a minute down on the Mercedes and Ferrari.

The track

Where to start? Just what is the most famous corner on this circuit? Is it Massenet into Casino Square? Or the slowest corner in F1, the Lowes hairpin, or the Tunnel or the blind fast-left of Tabac? Every fan has their own personal favourite.

Anyway, the race is the only one that doesn't meet the minimum distance set by the FIA, because, well it's Monaco...

There can be no mistaking where a driver is on track.

Where will I see some overtakes?

Overtaking at Monaco is not impossible, but hard is an understatement.

The prime overtaking spots are into the sea-front Nouvelle chicane, and into Mirebeau, the right-hander before the hairpin.

In 2014 Nico Hulkenberg dove up the inside of Kevin Magnussen at Portier while the late Jules Bianchi wrestled his way past Kamui Kobayashi at Rascasse to secure his only points in F1.

DRS isn't as effective here, with the sole zone being on the pit-straight.

The race is usually a precession and dull, with some calling for the race to be axed, but F1 without Monaco just wouldn't be the same.

Will it rain?

Rain at Monaco usually makes it a classic, see the 1982 race where there were 5 drivers who led in the race in the final three laps as no-one wanted to win and then there was 1984, when a Brazilian back-marker made sure he wouldn't stay in the Toleman-Hart for long.

Unfortunately, there will not be rain this weekend, with Thursday practice being cloudy but warm with Saturday and Sunday being clear and sunny with temperatures being the in mid to high 20 degree range.

What tyres are Pirelli bringing?

For the first time this season, the teams and drivers are allowed to pick their own allocation of the three sets of tyres that Pirelli are bringing.

They have opted, once again for the softest possible range of tyres with the ultra-soft being the softest compound available, with the super-soft and soft tyres also being brought. As ever, the Intermediate and Wet tyres have been transported to Southern France.

The field have stocked up on the ultra-softs, with most requesting 10 or 11 sets of the purple marked rubber.

When is it on?

One thing unique to Monaco is that Friday practice is run on Thursday, as Friday is rest day and the circuit opened back to the public.

It is the familiar European timings, with Thursday practice starting the same time as it would on Friday, just 24 hours earlier.

First practice is underway at 09:00am UK time on Thursday, with Qualifying and the Race underway at 13:00pm UK time on Saturday and Sunday.

Sky Sports F1 will be showing live coverage of the entire weekend, with Channel 4 offering alternate live coverage for freeview viewers. Sky will also being showing coverage of the F2 and GP3 support races.

First Practice - Thursday - 09:00am - 10:30am

Second Practice - Thursday 13:00pm - 14:30pm

Third Practice - Saturday - 10:00am - 11:00am

Qualifying - Saturday 13:00pm - 14:00pm

Race - the 78 laps of the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix get underway at 13:00pm on Sunday afternoon.

All times UK.