Mercedes continued their dominance of the 2019 Formula One season with a fifth consecutive one-two finish in Spain two weeks ago. They are likely to rule the roost again at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix (Race: 9:10am ET Sunday).
The ease with which Mercedes bested the field in Spain shattered the last remaining doubts over their superiority. Ferrari had been very strong in pre-season testing there but were nowhere near the two Mercedes cars over the course of the Grand Prix weekend.
Lewis Hamilton nipped past his teammate Valtteri Bottas into the first corner and went on from there to take a comfortable victory that even went unchallenged after a late safety car bunched up the pack. Hamilton moved ahead of Bottas at the top of the drivers’ championship, while Mercedes extended their lead in the constructors’ standings to almost 100 points.
There was always the hope that the significant upgrade packages the large majority of teams brought to Spain might produce a challenger to Mercedes’ supremacy. Instead, if anything they were even more dominant, in qualifying and the race alike. Some pegged the impact of the aerodynamic improvements they introduced at as much as three tenths of a second a lap.
Mercedes can again be expected to set the pace this weekend. Performance through the final sector in Spain is generally considered a good guide as to likely speed in Monaco and in qualifying, it was the two Mercedes drivers who shone brightest in that sector. Pole man Bottas was over fourth tenths quicker through there than the first non-Mercedes driver.
Hamilton has two previous victories at Monaco to his credit, most recently in 2016. The strong displays of Bottas so far this season, particularly in qualifying, mean that Hamilton isn’t as short as he might otherwise have been, making him an attractive option for the race win.
Ferrari were in sombre mood at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix. Not only did the two Mercedes cars pull away into the distance, but they were also beaten to the podium by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Sebastian Vettel came home fourth, with Charles Leclerc fifth. Afterwards, the team even themselves admitted that their design concept might be inherently limiting. It is unlikely they will suddenly find race-winning pace at Monaco.
Pierre Gasly brought the second Red Bull home in sixth in Spain, followed by the Haas of Kevin Magnussen, the McLaren of Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kyvat’s Toro Rosso and the second Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Haas were the fourth quickest team through the final sector in Spain, with Magnussen the seventh quickest and Grosjean 10th. The team have said that they expect a recurrence of their ongoing problems with tyre temperatures in Monaco and therefore won’t necessarily find themselves at the head of the midfield.
Toro Rosso are yet to score a double points finish this season but Alexander Albon very nearly joined Kyvat in the top 10 in Spain. They should have a good chance of doing so this weekend. They were 12th and eighth respectively through the final sector in Spain and Monaco has always been a circuit where the team has shown good pace. They have had one car in the points there in nine of the last 11 seasons.
The speed should be there, and if both of their drivers can keep their noses clean, a first double points finish of the season is a distinct possibility for Toro Rosso.
Lance Stroll has struggled in qualifying for Racing Point so far this season. He is yet to make it out of the first session, qualifying 16th, 18th, 16th, 14th (with two cars ahead of him later disqualified from qualifying) and 17th, while his teammate Sergio Perez has qualified 10th, 14th, 12th, 5th and 15th. Perez has subsequently outscored him 13 to 4 on race day.
There is no shame in being beaten by Perez, a highly competent and somewhat underrated performer. Given that his father is one of the owners of the team, Stroll’s position is not at risk but if things continue to be as one-sided, it is easy to see some frustration spilling over into Stroll’s approach.
A similarly lowly starting position at Monaco would put Stroll in the midst of a difficult-to-negotiate mass of cars for at least the opening couple of laps and most likely at other points of the race, too, if a safety car is deployed. The possibility of him getting caught up in a race-ending scrap seems high enough to make a wager on it a worthwhile course.
Our Preview’s F1 Monaco Grand Prix 2019 Betting Predictions & Picks Verdict
- Back Lewis Hamilton to win the race @ best odds of +120 with Intertops or BetOnline.
- Bet on Toro Rosso to secure a double points finish (ie: “both team drivers to finish in top 10”) @ +175 with Bovada.
- If you can find a sportsbook offering this, then bet on Lance Stroll not to finish the race @ around +200 (2/1). However the biggest U.S. offshore bookies are not offering this particular betting market yet.