Formula One 2020: Can Hamilton fend off Leclerc and Verstappen?
The new Formula One season is right around the corner. 10 teams and 20 drivers are about to do battle once more on the world’s greatest racetracks.
Pre-season testing is over, and it’s time for the real business – racing. And with Netflix releasing season two of ‘Drive To Survive’ in time for the new campaign, F1 is well and truly back after the winter break.
Lewis Hamilton is again the man to beat after a sensational sixth world title in 2019. The Mercedes ace has now won each of the last three championships, and is looking to match Michael Schumacher as a seven-time champion.
Will Hamilton prevail once more? Or can pretenders to the throne Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen usurp the six-time champ?
Those are just two of the big questions for the season ahead. And before the campaign gets underway in Australia, we’ve got all the key Formula One odds, info, talking points and much more below…
2020 Formula One odds
Will Hamilton be champion again this year? Our traders wouldn’t be surprised, with the 35-year-old 4/9 favourite to win the title this season.
Valtteri Bottas is second in the betting at 5/1. The Finn is entering his fourth season as Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate, and will be out to find any way of beating the Englishman consistently over a full campaign.
Could this be Verstappen’s year? The Dutchman needs his Red Bull to be on the pace from the get-go, and 11/2 says he wins his first world title this season.
Charles Leclerc enjoyed a standout campaign in 2019, posting seven pole positions and claiming two wins. Can he turn that into a championship challenge this term? Our traders are 13/2 about the 22-year-old conquering all in 2020.
That’s plenty shorter than the 12/1 about Sebastian Vettel claiming a fifth world crown. The German faces a big year after being shown the way by Leclerc last season and needs to regain supremacy in the intra-team battle.
Australian Grand Prix odds
As ever, the season gets underway Down Under at Melbourne’s Albert Park, and Hamilton heads there as favourite to win the Australian Grand Prix at 6/5.
He’s ahead of Bottas at 7/2, with Verstappen the first non-Mercedes driver at 4s.
There’s 9/2 about Leclerc winning the opening race of the season, with Vettel at 6/1 shot.
Teams enjoyed six days of testing this season, down from eight in previous years. But those six days were more than enough to give us a glimpse of how the 2020 pecking order might shake out.
Mercedes posted the quickest time in Barcelona, with Bottas lapping half a second quicker than anyone else.
Ferrari proved last year that you can never read too much into the winter testing times, but the new Mercedes W11 looks ominously strong over one-lap and race distances, and both Bottas and Hamilton appear happy with the car.
The German outfit have even found time to install a Dual Axis System (DAS) which has caught their rivals completely by surprise.
The ingenious system allows Hamilton and Bottas to realign the front tyres for cornering and straights. It’s believed the device offers aerodynamic advantages and helps tyre management.
Red Bull and Ferrari
Red Bull and Verstappen kept their cards close to their chest in Barcelona but the signs are positive. The Dutchman posted the fastest non-Mercedes time, and that was on a harder compound of tyre.
While Verstappen and Red Bull look to be in pretty good shape, the same cannot be said of Ferrari.
The Italian squad improved as the test went on, but the comments coming from Maranello suggest that while they’ve increased low-speed downforce, they’ve lost pace in other areas of the car, including the power unit.
Last year’s midfield fight was frequently fierce and that looks set to continue in 2020. Racing Point have made headlines already by revealing a car which is seemingly identical to last season’s Mercedes.
The new ‘pink Mercedes’ appears quick, with Sergio Perez claiming it’s the best car he’s ever had at pre-season. The Racing Point is deemed to be legal, but it’s certainly upset other teams on the grid.
Both McLaren and Renault are looking to mix it with the leading teams this term.
The two squads have one eye on the 2021 rule changes and enjoyed reasonable pre-seasons in Spain. It remains to be seen however, if they can find the required step up in performance come race day.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo pumped in some handy times in Barcelona, and it’s a big year for the Australian, who is out of contract at the end of the season amid rumours he may join Ferrari in 2021.
And the rest…
It’s a big year for Williams too as they bid to make up for a disastrous 2019 campaign. The Grove-based squad have gone back to the drawing board for 2020, and it looks as if they’ve made solid progress.
Both George Russell and new boy Nicholas Latifi posted competitive times in Barcelona, giving hope that they’ll move off the back of the grid.
Alfa Romeo and Haas look like they have work to do, while the re-branded Toro Rosso-turned Alpha Tauri has turned heads with a striking livery, and again looks set to be a solid midfield contender.
Vietnam arrives and the Netherlands returns
There’s plenty to look forward to this season, including the arrival of the Vietnamese Grand Prix on April 5th, and the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on May 3rd.
All the classics return, with the Monaco Grand Prix on May 24th, the British Grand Prix on July 19th and the Belgian and Italian events on August 30th and September 6th respectively.
Though 22 races have been scheduled, the Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed from its April slot, and it remains to be seen if the event will go ahead this year.
So settle in and get set for another whirlwind adventure. Can Bottas (or anyone) find a way to beat Hamilton? Can Ferrari and Red Bull give Leclerc and Verstappen title-challenging equipment? Will McLaren and Renault make strides forward? Will Vettel and Leclerc behave at Ferrari?
It’s almost time to find out…
Formula One 2020 Season Calendar
- Australian Grand Prix – March 15
- Bahrain Grand Prix – March 22
- Vietnamese Grand Prix – April 5
- Dutch Grand Prix – May 3
- Spanish Grand Prix – May 10
- Monaco Grand Prix – May 24
- Azerbaijan Grand Prix – June 7
- Canadian Grand Prix – June 14
- French Grand Prix – June 28
- Austrian Grand Prix – July 5
- British Grand Prix – July 19
- Hungarian Grand Prix – August 2
- Belgian Grand Prix – August 30
- Italian Grand Prix – September 6
- Singapore Grand Prix – September 20
- Russian Grand Prix – September 27
- Japanese Grand Prix – October 11
- United States Grand Prix – October 25
- Mexico City Grand Prix – November 1
- Brazilian Grand Prix – November 15
- Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – November 29
- *TBA Chinese Grand Prix
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication