Formula One drivers guide for 2020
Lewis Hamilton will have history on his mind when he heads into the delayed Formula One season.
The defending champion, 35, will match Michael Schumacher’s record if he wins a seventh world championship this year.
Here, the PA news agency runs the rule over Hamilton and the other 19 drivers who will line up for the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend.
Lewis Hamilton (Gbr)
Championships: 6 (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Valtteri Bottas (Fin)
Mercedes have been the dominant team in Formula One since 2014, winning a record six consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championships. Hamilton has been the driving force behind their success and the British driver will start the new campaign as the favourite to win his sixth world championship in seven years to equal Schumacher’s overall record. Hamilton is also just seven wins shy of Schumacher’s all-time victory record of 91. He will be partnered by last year’s runner-up Valtteri Bottas for a fourth straight season.
Sebastian Vettel (Ger)
Age: 32 (33 on Friday)
Championships: 4 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Charles Leclerc (Mon)
Last year, Leclerc finished ahead of Vettel in the championship – scoring a greater number of pole positions and victories than his four-time world championship-winning team-mate – moving Ferrari not to renew the German’s contract which expires at the end of this season. Ferrari have not celebrated a drivers’ champion since 2007, and after a poor pre-season campaign, the Italian team fear they will start this season on the back foot.
Max Verstappen (Ned)
Alexander Albon (Thai)
Verstappen was one of the stars of last year after he finished third in the championship behind Hamilton and Bottas. Verstappen, 22, could prove Hamilton’s closest challenger if Red Bull can build on a package which fired the Dutchman to three victories last season. London-born Albon is set for just his second season in F1 and his first full campaign as a Red Bull driver after he was promoted from Toro Rosso following last year’s summer break.
Carlos Sainz (Spa)
Lando Norris (Gbr)
Starts : 21
McLaren emerged from the doldrums last season with their best performance in years as they finished fourth in the constructors’ table. Sainz also scored McLaren’s first podium since 2012 when he was promoted to third in Brazil. Britain’s most successful team will be desperate to continue their charge back towards the front of the grid. After an impressive rookie campaign, British driver Norris is set for his second season in the sport. Sainz will move to Ferrari at the end of this year.
Daniel Ricciardo (Aus)
Esteban Ocon (Fra)
Ricciardo is joined by Ocon as Renault bid to bounce back from a disappointing 2019. Ocon spent last season on the sidelines after losing his seat to Lance Stroll at Racing Point, but the highly regarded Frenchman returns to the grid in place of long-standing German driver Nico Hulkenberg. This year will conclude Ricciardo’s short tenure with the French team ahead of his switch to McLaren in 2021.
Pierre Gasly (Fra)
Daniil Kvyat (Rus)
A new season and a new name for Red Bull’s junior team with Toro Rosso re-branded as AlphaTauri for the forthcoming campaign. Gasly, dropped by Red Bull midway through last season, drives alongside Kvyat after the Russian was retained for a second straight year of his yo-yo career.
Sergio Perez (Mex)
Lance Stroll (Can)
Following a rather underwhelming campaign in 2019, Racing Point proved to be one of the major talking points at testing after their new car resembled a carbon-copy of last year’s title-winning Mercedes. Within the rules, the British-based team’s unusual move could prove something of a masterstroke. Canadian Stroll starts his second campaign at Racing Point alongside Mexican driver Perez, who has been with the team since 2014.
Kimi Raikkonen (Fin)
Championships: 1 (2007)
Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita)
Former world champion Raikkonen is this year set to become the most-capped F1 driver. The veteran Finn is just 10 races shy of Rubens Barrichello’s record of 322 starts. Italian Giovinazzi has been retained by Alfa Romeo for a second season.
Romain Grosjean (Fra)
Kevin Magnussen (Den)
Having previously established themselves as solid midfield runners, the American team will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 campaign where they finished ninth. Grosjean will be joined once more by Magnussen – their fourth year together as team-mates.
George Russell (Gbr)
Nicholas Latifi (Can)
Surely it cannot get any worse for Williams? Despite being able to boast 16 combined drivers’ and team titles, the British team finished rooted to the foot of the championship last year after scoring just one point, and were recently put up for sale following financial troubles. Claire Williams heads into the new campaign under scrutiny that she is the right person to lead her family team’s revival. Russell is partnered by Canadian rookie Latifi after Robert Kubica was dropped just one season into his comeback year.