The question of the season is whether Hamilton can equal Schumacher in a season vastly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Highlights: Difficulty Increases Due to Coronavirus Pandemic in Hamilton’s Schumacher Chase:
- Coronavirus Concerns Greater Than Formula 1
- Hamilton’s Schumacher Chase More Difficult Because of Fewer Races
- Hamilton’s Schumacher Chase Not Any Easier Due to Reliability Concerns
- Rise of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc Could Impact Hamilton’s Title Charge
Lewis Hamilton is one title away from equaling Michael Schumacher, the G.O.A.T., after winning last year’s Driver’s Championship. Considering Hamilton has won 5 of the last 6 championships, the odds favour him winning another.
Many Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and Hamilton fans are hoping that this will be the year when the Briton does so.
Formula 1 Season Schedule is Unpredictable
But there are far bigger concerns surrounding the world with Covid-19. Members of the Formula One Management, the FIA, government authorities and health professionals will have detailed discussions as to when the F1 season can resume.
Since 1 race has already been cancelled and 3 have been postponed, there is no guarantee as to when the F1 season can resume. The cancellation/postponement of races likely means that there will be fewer races taking place in 2020.
Fewer Races May Make Hamilton’s Schumacher Chase More Difficult
Last season, Hamilton’s closest rival was his teammate, Valtteri Bottas (326), who finished 87 points behind Hamilton (413). Behind Hamilton were Max Verstappen (278) and Charles Leclerc (264) in third and fourth respectively. Each victory earns a driver 25 points, 18 for 2nd and 15 for 3rd. With this in mind, it seems Hamilton won last season’s title comfortably.
However, if fewer races were to take place in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, then it seems that Hamilton might find it more difficult to equal Schumacher. This is because Hamilton would then need to win a higher percentage of races
Mercedes’ Reliability Concerns a Huge Problem for Hamilton
Moreover, considering Mercedes had reliability concerns during pre-season, it becomes all the more important for Hamilton to win more races, as there is a possibility that he might suffer engine troubles.
However, considering Hamilton’s vast experience in the sport, he is likely to equal Schumacher, despite reliability concerns, as he has the potential of winning the required number of races. Having won more than 50 % of the races last season with 11 victories out of 21, Hamilton seems all set to win his 7th title.
Impact of the Rise of Young Guns on Hamilton’s Title Charge
However, with young guns Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc firing on all cylinders starting from the 2nd half of the season, Hamilton’s title chase could be far more difficult. Moreover, one cannot deny the hunger that Vettel will also have considering that this might be his last season at Scuderia Ferrari.
The first 8 races were won by Mercedes drivers but out of the next 13 races, it was slightly more even: Hamilton won 5 races, Valtteri won 2, Verstappen won 3, Leclerc won 2 and Vettel won 1. Assuming that 4 of the races will not take place as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the fight could be much closer for Hamilton considering how the 2nd half of the season panned out last season.
In conclusion, if Mercedes suffers reliability concerns or if Hamilton makes the slightest of errors, it might cost Hamilton his chance to go in the history books. Verstappen, Leclerc, and Vettel will always be there to pounce on any opportunity they get. Therefore, it seems that the coronavirus pandemic has made it all the more difficult for Hamilton to equal Schumacher’s record of 7 titles, as there are likely to be fewer races in the season.