With Hamilton at his peak, can any of the young guns, Charles Leclerc or Max Verstappen, step up or will the champion win a record seventh title to equal Michael Schumacher?
Past six Formula 1 seasons were nothing short of predictable as Mercedes AMG Petronas won both the Constructor’s and the Driver’s championships. Lewis Hamilton himself won five of those titles. So, now in 2020, as Mercedes continues to deliver impressive performances in pre-season, the question that fans have is whether anyone can stop Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.
Last season, two young guns impressed many across the paddock: Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. Charles Leclerc, 22, finished 4th in his debut season for Scuderia Ferrari while Max Verstappen, also 22, finished 3rd for Red Bull Racing Honda. Many believe that both these drivers are future champions.
But is any of them capable of dethroning Lewis Hamilton to become the youngest Driver’s champion or will Hamilton continue his domination at the top to equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven titles? Currently, the youngest Driver’s champion is Sebastian Vettel, who won his first title with Red Bull Racing Renault in 2010 at the age of 23 years, 134 days.
Highlights: The Rise of the Young Guns
- Charles Leclerc vs Max Verstappen
- Racing Career and the Challenge Ahead
- Nico Rosberg’s views in the budding rivalry
- Views of Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, and Max Verstappen.
Rise of Two Future Driver’s Champions
Last season, Formula 1 witnessed the rise of two future Driver’s Champions. Max Verstappen, who finished 3rd in the Driver’s championship last season, only behind the two Mercedes drivers, is the youngest Grand
In comparison, the other driver believed to be a future Driver’s champion is Charles Leclerc, who not only finished 4th in his debut season with Ferrari but also beat his teammate, Sebastian Vettel, a quadruple Driver’s champion.
Although it seems inevitable that both Leclerc and Verstappen will win the Driver’s championship at some point considering their incredible talent, do they have enough to beat 6-time Driver’s Champion, Lewis Hamilton, this season?
This challenge is no doubt a tall order for any of the two drivers, but some former drivers, including Nico Rosberg, who knows what it takes to beat Lewis Hamilton, believe there is a possibility.
Rosberg and the Contenders Have Their Say
Nico Rosberg said, “This could be the year of the handover but it depends on the car, the challenge – Verstappen, Leclerc, I wouldn’t count Valtteri Bottas out either, Sebastian Vettel will be in there.” Considering Rosberg mentions that this could be “the year of the handover,” it seems that there indeed could be a youngest Driver’s Champion as long as both the drivers have a car capable of delivering the goods.
The contenders for the youngest Driver’s Champion also had their say on the seemingly unbeatable Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen said, “He is definitely one of the best out there but he is not God. Maybe God is with him, but he is not God.”
Leclerc too seemed to echo Verstappen’s comments about Hamilton when he told Italian outlet Quotidiano Nazionale, “Max is right, nobody is invulnerable. Not even Lewis, who is obviously a great champion.” The confidence of the drivers themselves makes one thing clear and that is that. Lewis is going to have a run for his money, defending his Driver’s Championship.
Having heard comments from Max Verstappen on the challenge to his throne, Lewis Hamilton responded in emphatic fashion. Hamilton said, “I find it funny seeing that. I have just always known to do my talking on the track. I tend to see that as a sign of weakness.” With the form of his life, Lewis clearly is aware of what it takes to maintain consistency over a season and to win Driver’s championships, having won it for a total of 6 times. However, he too will be aware that he has a challenge on his hands and that equalling Schumacher’s seven titles by no means is going to be an easy task.
Having heard the views of former drivers and also the contenders themselves, it is certain that there is a possibility of there being a new youngest Driver’s Champion. If not, then Lewis Hamilton seems all set to equal Michael Schumacher’s outstanding record of 7 Driver’s Championships. Considering the confidence of both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, it seems that the only requirement for them to dethrone Lewis Hamilton is that if they have a better car as a former champion, Nico Rosberg, points out.