Who Can Win The Triple Crown?
Written By Owen Bradley, Edited By Ishani Aziz
The Triple Crown, the most prestigious achievement in Racing.
Only one person has achieved it: Graham Hill.
To win the Triple Crown, you must win three events in Motorsport:
The Monaco Grand Prix (F1)
The Indy 500 (Indycar)
The Le Mans 24 Hours (WEC - World Endurance)
These events are arguably the most challenging in Motorsport, although you could argue such events like the Daytona 500 and the Bathhurst 12 hours also deserve a mention.
So who could realistically challenge for the Triple Crown? And will we ever see another Triple Crown Champion again?
First of all, there are some drivers out there who have achieved ⅔ of the Crown, and so their chances are greatly improved, and these drivers are the most realistic ones who could win it, mainly because they are currently racing, and have expressed interest in actually achieving the Triple Crown.
So here is a list of drivers who could (realistically) win the Triple Crown, and be the first person to do it, since Graham Hill did in 1972 with his Le Mans 24 Hours victory.
Having won both the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours twice, Alonso currently races in F1, and therefore has a great chance of achieving the crown. At 40 Years old, he’s raced in the Indy 500 in 2017, 2019 and 2020, doing very well particularly in 2017 and running in P1 for 29 laps. As he’s currently focused on his F1 career, it looks like we might have to wait a few more years for him to try his hand at the Indy 500 yet again, but if he signs with the right team, he could have a good chance. Having completed the first two requirements of a double crown twice, if he was to win the Indy 500 twice, he would technically have completed the Triple Crown twice over. Now that would be really impressive!
Montoya is in a weird situation: he has won the Indy 500 twice (in 2000 and in 2015), but also the Monaco Grand Prix in 2003. He also won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but the catch is it was in the LMP2 class, so that win does not count towards the Triple Crown, as he didn’t win the overall race. At 46, time might be running out for Montoya to finally get that win at Le Mans. However, with new manufacturers joining the peak of endurance racing in 2023 and 2024, if he signs with the right team, he could have a good chance.
ONES TO WATCH
Although Alonso and Montoya look to be the two drivers that are closest and most likely to win the Triple Crown, other drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have both already won the Monaco Grand Prix, and should they continue their racing careers, they could also win a few other events. Let’s take a look at how plausible they are as Triple Crown contenders.
Most notably, Max Verstappen has expressed an interest in endurance racing, and has already competed in a virtual Le Mans race. However, as stated earlier, Verstappen has his reservations about the Indy 500 - so it is incredibly unlikely that he will attempt to win the Triple Crown. But then again, he is only 24 years old and perhaps once his F1 career is finished, he will try endurance racing and maybe even change his mind about racing in the Indy 500. Only time will tell!
Lewis Hamilton on the other hand has previously stated that he has “Zero passion” for either the Indy 500 or Le Mans 24 hours.
Sebastian Vettel has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, in 2011 and 2017, with two different manufacturers and teams, which is quite impressive. He hasn’t really commented on racing at Le Mans or the Indy 500, but that has'nt stopped people from offering him a drive in both categories. Having already completed one third of the crown, and having recently announced his retirement from F1, Vettel could also be one to watch in the future.
Daniel Ricciardo is another one to watch, with his talent clear, and having won the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, he has also completed a third of the crown. The reason Ricciardo is on this list is because his recent performances in F1 might suggest that he could be leaving the sport at the end of 2023, at only 34. Therefore, I think if he was to leave, he would end up racing in the World Endurance Championship, as he has previous links to Porsche from back in 2015, and he would still be hungry and young enough to be a serious competitor. His marketability also makes him attractive for teams to want him as a driver. On the other hand, with links to McLaren, Riccardo could also decide he wants to try out the Indy 500.
At the end of the day, the trickiest one of the three races to win is arguably the Monaco Grand Prix - because both Le Mans and Indy 500 allow for more competitors to join, unlike their other races in the championship. Therefore, if a driver is going to win the Triple Crown, they will likely have to leave such an impression in Formula 1, that would earn them a drive, and then they of course have to win it, which is even harder. This is the reason why a lot of F1 drivers are the only ones who have a chance, because they start with F1, and go to the other events later in their career to have a shot. Therefore, not only do the drivers have to be incredibly versatile, but they have to be incredibly motivated too, and they must remain motivated for a long period of time.
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