Can Anyone Challenge Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix?
Thom Cunningham | 5 mins
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Six races into the 2019 F1 season and Mercedes seems to be running away with both trophies as the Monaco Grand Prix approaches.
Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have yet to finish outside the Top 2 in any race, while Mercedes has close to a 100-point lead over Ferrari in the Constructor's Cup standings.
Mercedes' odds to win the Constructor's Cup is currently at -2000, exceedingly high odds considering there are still 16 races this season.
If there was ever a weekend for other teams and drivers to begin catching up with Mercedes, it would be during the sport's most prestigious race.
Mercedes at Monaco
The Monaco Grand Prix is considered one of the most difficult races on the F1 schedule. This is mainly due to a few 'hairpin' turns along with being the narrowest track in all of F1.
Hamilton (+100) and Bottas (+250) currently have the best odds to win in Monaco, although neither has won the race the past two years. Hamilton's last win was in 2016 as Bottas has yet to win.
Daniel Ricciardo won last year's race while Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel won in 2017.
Vettel, along with Hamilton, is the only active driver to win in Monaco on two separate occasions.
FASTEST SECTORS— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2019
Ferrari ahead over the first two sectors in the tight battle against Mercedes ?#F1 #MonacoGP ?? pic.twitter.com/DWbTLI9W40
Vettel's odds to pull off the upset and win his third Monaco Grand Prix is currently set at +1400. Those are the same odds as his teammate Charles Leclerc, who wrecked in last year's race.
Ferrari could challenge Mercedes this weekend, but Mercedes has won four of the last six in Monaco despite Lewis Hamilton only being responsible for one of those wins.
Nico Rosberg is the main reason why Mercedes has dominated Monaco recently, winning three of the last six. He is no longer racing, however, as no team has won the event two times since.
Red Bull a Dark Horse
Red Bull won the race last year thanks to Daniel Ricciardo's stellar weekend. He is gone, however, racing with a brand new team.
They will turn to Max Verstappen, who has had a very consistent season compared to years past.
Thank you all! #BestFans ? #JumboRacedagen pic.twitter.com/SD0yKk4pLK— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 19, 2019
The Dutch-driver has odds to win set at +285, which is surprisingly high considering the season at hand.
Verstappen is in third place but nearly 40 points behind both Hamilton and Bottas in the World Title standings.
He has yet to finish outside the Top 4 and has about a 69 percent chance to finish in the Top 3 for the second straight race.
Red Bull actually has historic success in Monaco, winning four of the last nine. Ricciardo's win last year was the team's first since 2012.
Can Mad Max Verstappen get the job done? It will be difficult, but he did record the fastest lap in Spain last race.
The odds Verstappen carries that momentum over and sees the fastest lap in Monaco is currently set at +350.
Monaco Grand Prix Props to Consider
The most interesting prop bet entering Monaco may be the safety car play. Last year marked the first time since 2009 where the safety car was not deployed during the Monaco Grand Prix.
There was a virtual safety car appearance, but that doesn't count for bettors leaning on the safety car to pop up.
Currently, the odds for a safety car appearance are set at an overwhelming -1000. For a race that has seen the safety car appear in eight out of the last nine years, those odds seem like a lock.
However, the last time the safety car odds were this high was in Azerbaijan - a race that has seen 16 retirements in just three years.
The odds for a safety car in Baku were -500, it never appeared as many drivers played it safe.
Will that be the same case for Monaco? Probably not, as the urgency to compete with Mercedes before they are completely uncatchable may set in and trigger dangerous driving.
Plus, we've seen some hectic driving through the practice rounds already.
Who made the early running in Monaco?— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2019
Catch up on FP1 ⬇️ #F1 ?? pic.twitter.com/cB7YRwGrKr
Romain Grosjean also enters with the best odds to retire before any other driver (+1000).
Those odds can go either way as Grosjean saw his first Top 10 finish of the season last race during the Spanish Grand Prix.
Based on the seasonal trend, Grosjean's odds to retire first may be worth a look (especially at that value). He has yet to see back-to-back races this season where he didn't have to retire.