Daniel Ricciardo clinched his first win at the Monaco GP. After a disastrous pitstop denied the Australian of a sure victory in 2016, this was sweet revenge. Sebastian Vettel claimed the second spot comfortably. Lewis Hamilton completed the podium places in Monaco.
Vettel conquered the first two GPs of the season, whilst Ricciardo took victory home in China and Monaco last week, and Hamilton won in Azerbaijan and Spain. The last time three drivers each won two races in the first six events of a season was in 2008 when Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) and Ferrari‘s Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen did the same.
Hamilton said about Daniel Ricciardo´s title chances: “Ricciardo is pretty much the lead driver in Red Bull, so it’s not a bad place to be. If at some stage they get an engine they’re going to be even closer in the mix with us, and there is still a long, long way to go this year obviously. Who knows? They could win many more races. The championship definitely is a three-way fight”.
The English driver has a point, statistically, Ricciardo has the same chance that Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel enjoy their wins this year.
In the past 68 Formula 1 championships, the World Drivers’ Champion won at least two races out of the first six on 53 occasions (78%). The other 15 times, the champion won at least one of the first six races 13 times. Keke Rosberg in 1982 and Piquet in 1987 were the only drivers to not win a race in the first six races of the year and still win the title.
A driver who wins two races in the first six races has a 55% chance of winning the championship (53 out of 96 drivers who won two of the first six races were able to win the crown).
Hamilton’s words are spot on if you take into consideration the history of the sport and how in the seasons when more than one team fought for victories unfolded. According to the numbers, Hamilton, who leads the championship with 110 points, Vettel (96 points), and Ricciardo (72 points), all three have a 55% chance to clinch the 2018 title.
On the other hand, drivers like Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen or Räikkönen, who haven’t won a single race this year, have a 3% chance of winning the Drivers’ Championship.