Mika Hakkinen expects tables to turn on Mercedes in Monaco
Mika Hakkinen does not expect Mercedes to enjoy such an easy ride at the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend, despite the huge advantage the team holds over its rivals.
Mercedes extended its record-breaking start to a season with a fifth consecutive 1-2 finish after Lewis Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas to victory at the Spanish GP.
Hakkinen says such a start is "worrying", but believes the tables could turn in Monaco as the nature of the circuit should even out the performance of the cars.
"No team has achieved this before," Hakkinen said of Mercedes' start, writing in his Unibet column. "The level of dominance is worrying for the competition as well as for fans of the sport.
"Despite all of this I am optimistic that Mercedes will not keep winning so easily.
"The next race is Monaco, which is very different from Barcelona – a truly unique track. Red Bull won there last season, and Ferrari in 2017, and we know that both teams are looking forward to this race."
Red Bull's form in slow corners is one of, if not the best, and Hakkinen reckons Max Verstappen is most likely to challenge for the win, but doesn't believe the Ferraris can be discounted.
"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.
"[Charles] 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 to bring Ferrari back up to the front of the grid.
"And then we have Sebastian Vettel. 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."