Lewis Hamilton says Daniel Ricciardo’s victory at the Monaco Grand Prix has opened up the Formula 1 world title race to a three-way battle.

Ricciardo has drawn level with both Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with an even split of two wins each from the opening six rounds of the 2018 F1 campaign which sees the top three in the drivers' world championship split 38 points.

While Hamilton continues to place the favourites tag firmly on Ferrari and Vettel he accepts Ricciardo and Red Bull are becoming a bigger threat in the world title tussle off the back of the Monaco win and the predicted momentum set to be generated for the following rounds.

“It definitely is a three-way fight,” Hamilton said after the Monaco Grand Prix. “Sebastian and Ferrari I think are still the strongest. Their car was quick here, their car was working quite well through the whole season so far and they have dropped the ball a few times and we’ve capitalised on that so we are further ahead than we would be if everyone had done the same job. But I still feel that they’re the strongest and Sebastian has been doing the strongest job.

“I think Red Bull potentially have got an upgrade coming at some stage, engine-wise I think at the next race, so it will be interesting to see their performance and they will continue to get stronger through the year.

“While maybe the race was not the most exciting, it’s great for the fans to see this battle that we have. I’m telling you, we’re doing everything we can to win the race and then the Red Bulls win it and then the Ferraris win it and then we win. It’s great to have that.”

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Hamilton also feels a more competitive title fight means he’s able to relish the challenge and extract the best from both himself and Mercedes given the increased pressure from Red Bull and Ferrari.

“I personally love it and it’s challenging me more than I can express,” he said. “It’s the biggest challenge that I’ve had with my boys, but I’m loving that challenge.

“I’m loving having to dig super deep in my technical knowledge and learning more and how I can communicate, how I can really pick the right set-up and get it right for the weekend.

“To come to a race which is particularly one of our weakest out of two, probably our weakest - we’ll see when we get to Singapore - to come out with this is definitely a positive. Hence why I am positive.”

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