Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen believes the all-conquering Mercedes squad will have a challenge on its hands at the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix.
Undefeated for first or second after five races, Mercedes reigns supreme over the 2019 championship with many wondering when – if at all – the German squad will suffer its first setback.
In his usual post-race column for Unibet, Hakkinen feels that Mercedes winning streak may well come to an end on the streets of Monte-Carlo, with the Finn putting his money on Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc to deliver a long-awaited drubbing.
“The next race is Monaco, which is very different from Barcelona – a truly unique track,” said Hakkinen.
“Red Bull won there last season, and Ferrari in 2017, and we know that both teams are looking forward to this race.
“Verstappen is a man on a mission, determined to be the first person to beat Mercedes this year, and I think the Red Bull Honda will be very quick around Monaco.
“Leclerc is another one who will challenge Mercedes around the streets of Monte Carlo.
“This is his home race, and while he has been very quick all season there have been a few small mistakes and problems which have stopped him from taking an early victory.
“He will be determined the bring Ferrari back up to the front of the grid.”
However, Hakkinen isn’t dismissing a return to the top step of the podium of Sebastian Vettel.
“And then we have Sebastian Vettel,” added the 20-time Grand Prix winner.
“He is a four times World Champion, has won in Monaco twice before, and remains an outstanding competitor.
“He has faced some criticism in recent months, but I personally believe he has the ability to deliver victories for Ferrari in 2019 and re-establish a championship challenge.
“There is still a long way to go.”