Daniel Ricciardo’s victory for Red Bull in the Monaco GP means the opening two months of the 2018 Formula 1 season have matched a record last set over 30 years ago.
For the first time since 1987, three teams have each won two races from the season’s opening six rounds.
Red Bull‘s Monaco win followed Ricciardo’s first of the year in China, while Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan and Spain – and Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel in Australia and Bahrain – have also claimed two apiece so far.
The last time such a split happened was 31 years ago when McLaren (Alain Prost), Williams (Nigel Mansell) and Lotus (Ayrton Senna) were the three teams and drivers to equally share the victories between them across the first six grands prix.
F1 1987 v F1 2018 1987: First six races Winning team Winning driver 1. Brazilian GP McLaren Alain Prost 2. San Marino GP Williams Nigel Mansell 3. Belgian GP McLaren Alain Prost 4. Monaco GP Lotus Ayrton Senna 5. Detroit GP Lotus Ayrton Senna 6. French GP Williams Nigel Mansell 2018: First six races 1. Australian GP Ferrari Sebastian Vettel 2. Bahrain GP Ferrari Sebastian Vettel 3. Chinese GP Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo 4. Azerbaijan GP Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 5. Spanish GP Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 6. Monaco GP Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo
This is only the 11th season in the proceeding 31 years that at least three teams have won one or more grand prix after six rounds.
And only twice in that time, 2012 and 2013, have four or more teams won at least one race across the opening half-dozen rounds.
Natalie Pinkham is joined by former Ferrari driver Derek Bell and sportscar racer Jonny Adam to look back at Daniel Ricciardo’s against-the-odds win at the Monaco GP and ask whether it’s time for F1’s most-famous race to be altered
So who is the title favourite?
Although Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo have each triumphed twice since the season began in Australia two months ago, the Mercedes driver has had the more consistent results and leads his Ferrari rival by 14 points in the Drivers’ Championship heading to next week’s Canadian GP.
Ricciardo, who retired in Bahrain with a mechanical fault and Azerbaijan after colliding with Max Verstappen, is 38 points back.
Hamilton is the current bookmakers’ championship favourite, with the Englishman priced at 1/2 with Sky Bet while Ricciardo is third-favourite at 18/1.
However, neither of the championship’s current top-two are viewing the title fight as an exclusive duel between them like last year.
“The battle is between all three teams and all six drivers,” Vettel told Sky F1 after finishing second to Ricciardo in Monaco.
Hamilton, who was third in the Principality, said: “It is definitely a three-way fight.
“Seb is still the strongest. Their car has worked well all season so far. But it is a three-way fight and Red Bull will continue to get stronger through the year.”
And Hamilton’s prediction of a season-long battle for supremacy between the grid’s ‘Big Three’ teams is shared by F1’s motorsports managing director Ross Brawn.
“For now, we can enjoy this season that promises to be closely contested right down to the wire,” said Brawn.
Daniel Ricciardo returned to the Red Bull Energy Station to cheers and high-fives before he embraced his family
“The first six races of the year have produced three different winners from three teams, who have each won twice.
“The last time we saw something similar was in 2013, when we had four winners from four teams.
“That’s positive for the rest of the season as uncertainty generates more interest in Formula 1 and the top three teams are definitely more evenly matched than at any time in the hybrid power era.”
Can Ferrari or Red Bull deny Lewis Hamilton a fourth consecutive win in Montreal? Watch the Canadian GP exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 from June 8-10. Get Sky Sports F1.
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