Monaco is a very different kind of race weekend. The drivers are the same, the cars are the same and the paddock motorhomes are the same, but everything else is different.
If familiarity breeds contempt during the European season, where week after week the trucks are lined up in the same order in identikit paddocks, then Monaco is the perfect antidote. Even Thursday happens on a Wednesday given the need to preserve the tradition of not running grand prix machinery on Friday.
Those same motorhomes are crammed into an area the size of a postage stamp, save for Red Bull, which always turns up with a floating energy station.
The track itself, usually the preserve of circuit walks, push-bike rides and runners on a 'Thursday' is flooded with traffic, fans and the odd Monaco resident going about their business. This, harnessed to what is usually dubbed glitz and glamour - seemingly based upon a harbour full of boats bought with a view to who can prove themselves as the most valuable to society through their size - creates a unique atmosphere.
It's not always the easiest environment for the paddock to operate in, but it's well worth the hassle for the most historical event on the calendar. And the devoted autograph hunters who beg their heroes for a signature through the paddock fence are the perfect reminders of why the sport continues to thrive.
The Monaco Grand Prix was first held back in 1929. That inaugural race was won by "Williams" - the pseudonym William Grover-Williams - and were he around today the current track configuration would be very familiar to him. Just watch the footage here of that famous race from 83 years ago to see that the familiar corners such as Ste Devote, Casino and Tabac were similar experiences for, culturally speaking, the ancestors of today's grand prix history.
Monaco is the only track where contemporary grand prix racing intersects with its own history and proof, if any were needed, of just how far things have come. It's a cliché to say that F1 long ago outgrew the twisty streets of the tiny principality. Perhaps it's more accurate to say that it continues that growth year after year to the point where, if a track like this were suggested by a new venue today, the would-be race organisers would not be taken seriously.
One of the great joys of covering F1 is the chance to stand trackside and see the greatest drivers in the world thread the needle between the barriers, probing the limits in the knowledge that being an inch out of place could lead to disaster. Some drivers like to play up the challenge while others, like Sauber's unflappable Kamui Kobayashi, isn't so sure.
"I don't think so," said the Japanese when AUTOSPORT asked whether he considered this a track where the driver could make the biggest difference. "It just depends on confidence because with confidence everybody can do a good laptime. I'm fine with coming here but it's not a really a proper circuit for F1 - it's more a chance to show F1 in Monaco.
"Everywhere, we have to be on the limit but this is normal. Racing is more about high speed and medium speed corners and overtaking. This is about the show."
And nowhere in F1 is the show greater than at Monaco. But Kobayashi is perhaps in the minority when it comes to talking down the driver challenge. Take Michael Schumacher. For all of the circuit's peculiarities, he has no doubts that the driver is able to make a bigger difference here than at any other venue.
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