Hakkinen tips Mercedes' rivals to challenge domination in Monaco

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Two-time Formula 1 champion Mika Hakkinen is expecting a three-team fight for victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The famous streets of the principality are known for producing unexpected results and haven't always been kind to the German manufacturer during their period of success.

Looking ahead to the 2019 edition, which marks 90 years since the first race back in 1929, the 'Flying Finn' laid out his argument for all of Mercedes' rivals.

“The next race is Monaco, which is very different from Barcelona – a truly unique track," he noted in his Unibet column.

"Red Bull won there last season and Ferrari in 2017, and we know that both teams are looking forward to this race.

“[Max] 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 the bring Ferrari back up to the front of the grid.

“And then we have Sebastian Vettel. He is a four-time 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.”

While Hakkinen may be talking up expectations, there is a sense of foregone conclusion about the Monaco race with Mercedes appearing superior to their rivals in slow-speed corners, the main characteristic of Monte Carlo.

Let's hope the former McLaren driver is right!