Hamilton wants Monaco challenge

Undoubtedly the greatest show on tarmac; the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix will get under way this weekend, with Lewis Hamilton leading the charts, just three points ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg.

The Brit, who is 8/13 odds-on favourite to win his fifth race in a row this season, wants Ferrari and Red Bull to mount a challenge to Mercedes in Monaco.

Hamilton and Rosberg have topped the last four races in that order; the first one in Australia being an exception, with the former retiring. Only Kevin Magnusson (Melbourne – second), Jenson Button (Melbourne – third), Sebastien Vettel (Malaysia – third), Sergio Perez (Bahrain – third), Fernando Alonso (China – third), and Daniel Ricciardo (Spain – third) have penetrated the top three this year.

The F1 standings leader said: “I’m racing my team mate, so I do have competition and I’m grateful for that.
“I’m hoping we have a closer race. It would be cool if there were Ferraris and Red Bulls in the mix.”

Mercedes’ engine power is undisputed, however the lack of straights in the Monte Carlo circuit make this race more about driving skill than raw speed.

Red Bull are the favourites to challenge both Hamilton and Rosberg, with Ricciardo 11/1 and Vettel at 12/1 to claim the prize. In a city that is renowned for risk taking, the track itself has seen many collisions and retirements over the years, so drivers can be forgiven for being more reckless than usual.

Mercedes won Monaco a year ago – on that occasion Rosberg held off challenges from Red Bull duo Vettel and the recently retired Mark Webber. Hamilton, who was battling a slight tyre problem on that day, could only manage a fourth place.

Four-time champion Vettel concedes that Merc are the “team to beat”, though is up for the challenge.

“Maybe we can be a bit closer,” he said

“The target is to have a very good qualifying because that’s half the job done on Saturday.”

However the race unfolds, at some point Hamilton will need to stick or twist.