With shot at a fifth straight win, Lewis Hamilton could join illustrious company

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If Lewis Hamilton can win his fifth consecutive Grand Prix this Sunday in Monaco (7:30 a.m. ET, NBC), he’ll join only six other drivers in Formula One history who have accomplished that feat.

Four drivers have compiled a streak of “just” five in a row: the late Sir Jack Brabham and the late Jim Clark in 1960 and 1965, respectively; Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher each won the first five races to open their 1992 and 2004 seasons.

All four drivers with that five-peat went on to win the World Championship that season.

Schumacher also has runs of six (2000-2001) and seven (2004) in a row. The record is of course nine in a row, set last year by Sebastian Vettel, a mark equaled by the late Alberto Ascari from 1952 to 1953 as he won nine straight races he entered.

Hamilton, now the championship leader, has a solitary won at Monaco in 2008 with McLaren, but hasn’t finished on the podium here since. He’s obviously keen to change that this weekend.

“Monaco is just incredible to drive and any driver will tell you that’s the race they want to win. So many great names become legends around this circuit,” Hamilton said in the team’s pre-race advance. “It’s an honor to fight for your place amongst them and a real test of your skills behind the wheel.

“The last few races have been just incredible,” he added. “I honestly never expected I’d win four consecutive Grands Prix in my career and I’d love to continue that run here. I’ve had some work to do in terms of getting the car exactly as I want it after the weekend in Spain: it was so close between our cars at the end and I need to keep pushing to find any extra edge I can.”

Practice starts on Thursday with Practice 1 live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra at 4 a.m. ET, with Practice 2 on NBCSN at 8 a.m. ET.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”