Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 June 2019

Monaco Grand Prix: Four ways that the Hamilton and Mercedes domination of F1 can end in Monte Carlo

Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, safety car periods and potential wet weather could all be a threat to the German marque's run of one-two finishes

Max Verstappen is a big threat to the Mercedes-GP cars at the Monaco Grand Prix. EPA
Max Verstappen is a big threat to the Mercedes-GP cars at the Monaco Grand Prix. EPA

The Monaco Grand Prix begins at 5.10pm UAE time and is the sixth round of the Formula One 2019 season.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton is on pole in his Mercedes-GP car, with teammate Valtteri Bottas alongside him on the front row.

Mercedes are looking to extend their record breaking start to the season with a sixth successive one-two finish this season.

But it is by no means certain they will do it in Monte Carlo.

Here is a look at the factors that could interfere with Mercedes's plans.

Max Verstappen

The Red Bull Racing driver was best of the rest in qualifying and starts behind the Mercedes pair in third.

With Bottas making poor starts in the previous three races Verstappen has to fancy his chances of getting among the duo on the run to Ste Devote.

If Verstappen can get ahead of at least one of the Mercedes cars on the first lap then he will be hard to dislodge. Passing is tough in Monaco and the Dutchman is notoriously difficult to get by at the best of times.

So Verstappen, whose pace is impressive regardless, can take the fight to Mercedes, but it needs a good start to help him.

Safety car period

Last year's Monaco Grand Prix was the first since 2009 not to see the safety car, with a Virtual Safety Car period the only sighting in a rarely calm race.

Given the compact nature of the circuit, which is set up around the streets of Monte Carlo, nearly any kind of blockage results in a safety car.

Depending on when that happens, or if it occurs, it can transform the race by offering variable strategies and it is something Hamilton particularly will be wary of.

He lost the 2015 race because of a full course caution period coming at the wrong time, so he will not want a repeat.

Rain

It was light rain that was the sight to behold in Monte Carlo on Sunday morning.

The forecast is for it to have cleared by race time, but there is still a threat of a shower in the closing stages.

Another variable that will have teams all wary as Monaco in the wet is a tough challenge - world champions including Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen have hit the barriers in the rain in years gone by.

Indeed Hamilton got away with a collision with a barrier on his way to his 2008 success.

Charles Leclerc

Yes, he is 16th on the grid and Ferrari appear to have lost their strategic sense. But he is still a threat.

He is quick, may be able to get some passes in early on, and most importantly will be on a different strategy to the Mercedes cars.

If there is safety car periods or wet weather then Leclerc may well be the man best placed to benefit given he is likely to run a long first stint on the harder tyres for the 78-lap race.

Updated: May 26, 2019 01:50 PM

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