Top 10 Formula One street circuits (and how to enjoy them)

1. "MONTE CARLO", MONACO, MAY 27, 2018

Say "street circuit" to Formula One fans, and most immediately think of Monaco – not only the oldest continuously operating street circuit in the world (since 1929) but also the shortest (3.3 kilometres), the hilliest and most glamorous. Yet for the rest of the year, you can walk around the same street course – taking your time to see what Lewis Hamilton and our own Daniel Ricciardo miss as they fly past. Grab a map of the course, make a note of the legendary features like the famous casino, the switchback turns of Mirabeau, the unique tunnel, and the port crammed with luxury yachts – and plan a coffee and lunch stop. Allow a leisurely four hours to do a lap that takes Sebastian Vettel less than three minutes. See visitmonaco.com

2. ALBERT PARK, MELBOURNE, MARCH 2, 2018

McLaren Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car to victory at the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, March 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith) str17-f1circuits

The Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: AP

Classed as a street circuit, it is better described as a park circuit. The truth is that Albert Park is best visited when the flying circus is not in town. The lake is the heart of Albert Park – whether you hire a row/sail boat or cycle around it. There's also a golf course, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, five kilometres of walking/jogging track, playgrounds, restaurants and plenty of picnic sports with an unrivalled view of the city skyline. See parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/albert-park

4. BAKU CITY CIRCUIT, AZERBAIJAN, APRIL 29, 2018

Azerbaijan now borders Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran and the Caspian Sea. Baku, the capital, is an ancient medieval-walled city on a crucial crossing from Asia to Europe, now fuelled by an oil bonanza. First held in 2016, last year's race was won by Ricciardo. The six-kilometre course was designed specifically to highlight Baku's historic and contemporary architectural treasures. These include the 12th century Maiden Tower, the 15th century UNESCO heritage-listed Palace of the Shirvanshahs, and the Flame Towers, the trio of LED-illuminated skyscrapers that symbolise an oil-rich city. See azerbaijan.travel

5. CIRCUIT GILLES VILLENEUVE, MONTREAL, JUNE 10, 2018.

The Canadian Grand Prix is held on a manmade island, Notre Dame Island, in the middle of the St Lawrence River, which forms part of Parc Jean-Drapeau. The 4.4-kilometre circuit hosts cycling, inline skating, jogging and walking events, while Ile Notre Dame is also home to Montreal's casino. But the park's most spectacular building is the Biosphere Environment Museum on neighbouring Saint Helen's Island (connected by bridges). See parcjeandrapeau.com/en

6. MARINA BAY STREET CIRCUIT, SINGAPORE: SEPT 16, 2018.

Singapore made history in 2008 by becoming the first F1 grand prix to be held under artificial lights. Even so, drivers endure temperatures of up to 60 degrees. The 5.1-kilometre circuit includes many of the Lion City's most dramatic landmarks. Many of you will recognise attractions the TV cameras capture: the Civilian War Memorial, St Andrew's Cathedral, the National Gallery, the Theatres on the Bay, the Singapore River and artificial Marina Bay itself with the ArtScience Museum and Marina Bay Sands hotel. See visitsingapore.com/en

7. SOCHI AUTODROM, RUSSIA: SEPT 30, 2018.

str17-f1circuits Traveller 10 Formula One street circuits?; text by Steve Meacham Shutterstock *** editorial use only *** re-use permitted Sochi, Russia - February 5, 2016: Sochi Olympic Park. Fragment race track of Formula One

Sochi Olympic Park. Photo: Shutterstock

Sochi, on the shore of the Black Sea with the towering Caucasus Mountains rising steeply in the background, first came to international prominence during the 2014 Winter Olympics. The first modern Russian Grand Prix (there were a couple before the Bolshevik Revolution) took place later that year. Sochi's 5.8-kilometre street circuit takes you past a host of Winter Olympic venues, including the stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies were performed before enjoying the stony beaches of the "Black Sea Riviera". See sochiguide.com

8. AUTODROMO HEMNANOS RODRIGUEZ, MEXICO CITY: OCT 28, 2018

Named after brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez, who died motor racing, this is the highest F1 racetrack in the world. It is also located within a public park (Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City) so anyone can enjoy it outside of the big race. This was the Olympic Park that hosted the historic 1968 Mexico City Games – when Australian 200 metre silver medallist Peter Norman joined in the celebrated "Black Power" salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos. See visitmexico.com/en

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9. YAS MARINA CIRCUIT, ABU DHABI, NOV 25, 2018

str17-f1circuits Traveller 10 Formula One street circuits?; text by Steve Meacham Shutterstock *** editorial use only *** re-use permitted Yas Viceroy Hotel on December 11, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Yas Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Photo: Shutterstock

Is this purpose-built track a street circuit? Mark Webber, the former Australian F1 driver, argues it is – and it is now firmly established (thanks to UAE money) as the final race of the season. However, you don't have to be a revhead to enjoy what Yas Island has to offer at other times of the year.

The five-star Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi overlooks the track (which hosts cycling races and a marathon as well motorsport adventures). Ferrari World has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Middle East, while Yas Marina itself is a great place to hang out to spy on the ultra rich and famous. See yasisland.ae

9. VALENCIA STREET CIRCUIT, SPAIN

The Spanish coastal city hasn't hosted an F1 race since 2013 when it lost the right to alternate the hosting of the Spanish Grand Prix with Barcelona. However, it was one of F1's most scenic races – and the only one to incorporate a swing bridge as part of the course. The futuristic Prince Philip Science Museum, in the shape of a whale skeleton and host to a diverse range of exhibitions, was a feature of the course that largely centred on the port areas. See visitvalencia.com/en

10. OPORTO STREET CIRCUIT, PORTUGAL

Call me romantic, but this street circuit – still used for a host of other motorsport events – hasn't featured on the F1 calendar since 1960. Yet it has gone down in F1 history because of Stirling Moss' sportsmanship in 1958. Moss' rival, Mike Hawthorn, finished second but was disqualified for dangerous driving. Moss argued Hawthorn's case, ensuring he won six points. At season's end, Hawthorn was declared champion – beating Moss by a point. Porto's centre is a UNESCO world heritage site, full of lively bistros, narrow flower-filled streets, wonderful markets and shops. For a great panorama, climb the Torre dos Clerigos. See oporto.com

Steve Meacham travelled as a guest of Singapore Airlines and Etihad to Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Others were visited at his own expense.

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