Which driver has the best chance to end the hot start that Mercedes have had to the 2019 Formula 1 season by winning the Monaco Grand Prix?
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport are riding a seven-race winning streak heading into the 2019 Formula 1 season’s sixth race, the Monaco Grand Prix, at Circuit de Monaco. Perhaps more notably, they are riding a five-race 1-2 finish streak, something that no team had ever been on to start a season in Formula 1 history.
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have occupied the top two steps of the podium following each of the season’s first five races, with Hamilton climbing to the top of the podium on three occasions and Bottas doing so on the other two.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won this race in 2017 ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen in second place. Meanwhile, Vettel’s new teammate, Charles Leclerc, has arguably been stronger than the four-time champion through five races so far this season and will be very hungry to earn the first victory of his career in his home race.
But with all things considered, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen has the best chance to become the first driver other than Hamilton or Bottas to win a race since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix, which he also won.
Ricciardo’s car was 25% down on power after suffering an MGU-K failure on lap 18 of the 78-lap race around the 19-turn, 2.074-mile (3.338-kilometer) Circuit de Monaco temporary street circuit in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and he still won it by 7.336 seconds over Vettel in second place despite the fact that his car was roughly 20 miles per hour slower than the cars of his rivals on the straightaways.
Verstappen would have won the race with ease considering how dominant of a weekend it was for the Milton Keynes-based team, which comfortably finished 1-2 in each of the practice sessions before Ricciardo took the pole position for the race and led all 78 of its laps.
But because of the fact that Verstappen was forced to start the race in 20th (last) place, he was only able to work his way up to ninth on the tight streets of the principality.
Verstappen is currently on a 10-race streak of top four finishes, including one victory and six additional podium finishes, going back to last season, and his only retirement in the last 16 races came as a result of an engine failure. He hasn’t made a notable on-track error since his crash in the third and final practice session for last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.
If Hamilton and Bottas both fail to win this Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, don’t be surprised if it is Verstappen who finds himself standing in the top step of the podium.