Jenson Button believes the Monaco GP is the first of two successive races on the 2019 calendar which could "mix up" the early championship picture.
Mercedes head to this weekend’s showpiece event undefeated after five races and are considered favourites for Monaco for arguably the first time in four years.
While Button believes Mercedes, whose car is excelling in slow corners, will inevitably be strong, he also thinks Monaco – and then the next race at high-speed Canada – present different challenges.
The great things is that we have Monaco up next, the Sky F1 pundit said after Mercedes’ dominant one-two in Spain.
Monaco is probably a circuit at which they’re still probably going to be very quick, but you will have the Red Bulls, Max [Verstappen] is going to be there.
If Max gets Saturday right and doesn’t shunt in qualifying we all know how quick he is, and especially around street circuits. So they’ll be there fighting with them. Then we have Montreal.
The next couple of races [will be] definitely mixing it up and that changes the mindset of those teams and also of Mercedes’ drivers.
I think it will definitely mix the championship up.
An four-year Monaco winning run for Mercedes between 2013 and 2016 has been followed by a win for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in 2017 and then a victory for then-Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo last year.
What have they been saying about Monaco?
Toto Wolff, Mercedes: We’ve changed a little bit the way we develop the car and how much emphasis we put on those slow-speed corners. It will be interesting to see whether we can really translate that in Monaco. It would be great and to have a big party there, I’ve missed that.
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari: Our ultimate objective is to do better than in Barcelona. Monaco is a different circuit and our car has got some strengths. It’s certainly too early for such an assumption [that Mercedes will win all 21 races].
Christian Horner, Red Bull: Mercedes looked pretty mighty particularly in the last sector [at Barcelona], but we’ve always run well there and Max is due a bit of redemption there. So hopefully we can give them a hard time.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: [Red Bull are] always quick in Monaco, they’re always quick on those street circuits particularly. Let’s hope that there’s more than they’re closer because we welcome more battles throughout the year. It would be great to have a Ferrari and a Red Bull there, fighting with us in a natural race.
Sky F1’s Monaco GP schedule
Wednesday, May 22
2pm: Drivers’ Press Conference Live!
5pm: Welcome to the Weekend Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
Thursday, May 23
8.10am: F2 Practice Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
9.45am: Monaco GP Practice One build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
10am: Monaco GP Practice One Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
12.15pm: F2 Qualifying Live!
1.45pm: Monaco GP Practice Two build-up (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
2pm: Monaco GP Practice Two Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
4pm: The Story So Far Live!
Friday, May 24
10.20am: F2 Race One Live!
Saturday, May 25
10.45am: Monaco GP Practice Three build-up
11am: Monaco GP Practice Three Live!
12.10pm: Paddock Walkabout Live!
1pm: Monaco GP Qualifying build-up
2pm: MONACO GP QUALIFYING LIVE! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
3.30pm: The F1 Show Live!
4pm: F2 Race Two Live!
Sunday, May 26
12.30pm: Monaco GP Pit Lane Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
1.30pm: Monaco GP On The Grid Live! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
2.10pm: THE MONACO GRAND PRIX LIVE! (simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event)
4pm: Monaco GP Paddock Live!
4.30pm: THE INDY 500 LIVE! (Race starts at 5.45pm)
9pm: Monaco GP highlights
10pm: Monaco GP best bits
10.30pm: Monaco GP race replay
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(c) Sky News 2019: F1 2019: Jenson Button makes Monaco GP prediction