Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship 2020 – Predictions & Betting Odds
- Lewis Hamilton goes for his record-tying seventh F1 Drivers’ title in a striking new Mercedes livery.
- Sebastian Vettel’s chances have been discounted heavily in his lame-duck season with Ferrari. Should they be?
- In what could be a breakout year, 22-year-old Max Verstappen is still searching for consistency to match his enormous talent.
The F1 season hasn’t started yet, and already it’s a year of enormous change for the world’s most popular form of motorsport. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the start of the season until the July 3-5 weekend, and thus far only eight F1 dates have been scheduled—all in Europe.
As Lewis Hamilton goes for a record-tying seventh world drivers’ championship, he will not be driving a car with the traditional Mercedes Silver Arrows paint scheme. Instead, Mercedes has agreed to let Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas pilot cars that feature an all-black motif in support of racial diversity, a cause Hamilton vocally supports.
Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel will be playing out his string with Scuderia Ferrari, as Carlos Sainz Jr. waits to replace him next year. With Charles Leclerc claiming the No. 1 driver role at the Scuderia, it will be interesting to see how Vettel reacts throughout the season.
F1 World Drivers’ Championship Futures
The odds for the F1 Championship are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
|Carlos Sainz Jr.||+5000|
Lewis Hamilton Goes for Seventh Title in New Black Livery
When F1 takes to the track this weekend for the opening race of the pandemic-delayed 2020 season, the conversation at the Austrian Grand Prix will be less about Lewis Hamilton’s chances to tie Michael Schumacher’s record seven championships and more about the new livery Mercedes has adopted at Hamilton’s instigation.
In response to global “Black Lives Matter” protests, Hamilton, F1’s first black superstar, recently decried the lack of diversity in the sport he has dominated for the past six years. Mercedes has agreed to support the six-time champion with a new black livery for the cars driven by Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas, forsaking the traditional Silver Arrows concept that has become so familiar to F1 fans as Hamilton has racked up championships.
The new paint scheme, however, won’t diminish Hamilton’s chances of winning a record-tying championship. Though Hamilton turned 35 in January, his skills have shown no signs of ebbing, as his 11 victories last year attest. In his last six seasons with Mercedes, Hamilton has won five titles and finished second once—to then-teammate Nico Rosberg.
Can Sebastian Vettel Be Effective in Last Year with Ferrari?
Before he was supplanted by Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel stood at the pinnacle of the F1 world. Driving for Red Bull, the German driver won four straight championships from 2010 through 2013 before signing with Ferrari for the 2015 season.
Vettel, now 32, has never won a title for the Scuderia. His best finishes in the standings for the vaunted Italian team were seconds in both 2017 and 2018, as Hamilton and Mercedes asserted their domination of the sport.
Hastening Vettel’s departure from Ferrari was the meteoric rise of his teammate, Charles Leclerc, who last year won two races to Vettel’s one in his first season with the team and finished fourth to Vettel’s fifth in the final standings. Leclerc enters the 2020 in the same position he ended 2019—as Ferrari’s No. 1 driver.
Vettel could not come to terms with the Scuderia on a contract beyond the 2020 season, and his replacement for 2021 already has been announced: Carlos Sainz Jr. How Vettel reacts—and drives—during his lame-duck season is one of this year’s major question marks, though oddsmakers already have answered by posting Vettel at +1400 to win a fifth title.
Max Verstappen Leads F1 Youth Movement into 2020 Season
On the short list of current and former F1 champions who are still active in the sport, Lewis Hamilton is 35 years old, Sebastian Vettel is 32, and Kimi Raikkonen is 40. No wonder the suggestion that a changing of the guard may be in the offing is gaining traction.
Leading the charge is 22-year-old prodigy Max Verstappen, who holds the distinction as the youngest driver to race in F1 at 17 years, 166 days (2015 Australian Grand Prix). He is also the youngest driver to win an F1 Grand Prix race, having taken the checkers for the first time in the 2016 Grand Prix of Spain at age 18 years, 266 days.
Verstappen (+450) is known for an aggressive, take-no-prisoners style, but his risk management has improved markedly in recent seasons. In 2019, he won a career-high three races and achieved a career-best third in the final F1 standings. As the odds suggest, Verstappen is primed for even better things in 2020.
Lewis Hamilton (-182)—With the prospect of tying Michael Schumacher in front of Hamilton, the F1 youth movement will have to wait at least one more year.