In the end, from unpredictable beginnings came the most expected of conclusions.
Lewis Hamilton made history by becoming only the second man to win a seventh Drivers’ Championship, drawing level with Michael Schumacher in the all-time standings.
We still don’t know whether he will attempt to win a magnificent eighth in 2021, but Hamilton has declared his desire to re-sign and if he does he will once again be the red-hot favorite in the Drivers’ Championship 2021 latest F1 odds to land glory.
But there was plenty of other talking points that fired the Formula 1 community in 2020, so before we can move forward we should reflect on a riveting campaign.
Hamilton’s Magnificent Seven
The best driver in the fastest car… you don’t need to be a professor to know how this story ends.
Hamilton claimed his historic seventh world title in 2020, finishing more than a century of points clear of teammate Valtteri Bottas in second.
From the get-go, when the Brit won three races back-to-back in Austria, Hungary and on his home turf, it was clear that Hamilton was very much the man to catch if you can.
With Ferrari way off the pace, the track was always likely to be clear for the 35-year-old to clinch his much-desired seventh title, and he took it with both hands.
Bottas Feeling the Pressure?
Despite driving the fastest car in the business, Bottas finished just nine points clear of Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.
The Finn is very much an understudy to Hamilton, but if the Brit does leave Mercedes then they will be some almighty boots to fill – there has been little suggestion from Bottas that he is the man for the job.
He would have been served notice by George Russell in his sole outing for the German manufacturer that there is very much competition out there.
If Hamilton does walk away from F1, you suspect Mercedes will throw the kitchen sink at securing the services of Max Verstappen from Red Bull.
He has taken a solid car and wrung every single inch out of it, winning two races and nailing the fastest lap in three different Grand Prix outings.
Without numerous mechanical failings that left the Dutch driver retiring from five races prematurely, he would almost certainly have finished above Bottas in the drivers’ standings.
Although Charles Leclerc might argue otherwise, Verstappen is the most talented driver in F1 – aside from the hall-of-fame Hamilton, that is.
Red Bull Needs Some Wings
If Red Bull are to really contest the Constructors’ Championship with Mercedes in 2021, they need a second driver that can offer more points-scoring support to Verstappen.
Alex Albon is highly regarded by the team but he doesn’t give the impression that he can consistently compete in the upper echelons of the sport, and the fact his drive for next season is yet to be confirmed speaks volumes.
Step forward Sergio Perez, who has been the victim of nepotism at Racing Point/Aston Martin as Lance Stroll, the son of the team’s billionaire proprietor, gets the nod instead.
But Perez is a quality performer who always seems to be in and around the points places, and his win in Bahrain was a clear message to a team that has treated him fairly shoddily. At Red Bull, the Mexican could truly fly.
There were naysayers and an almighty amount of pressure on the young shoulders of George Russell when he was announced as the one-off replacement for Hamilton in Bahrain, but he produced the most incredible ‘audition’ performance imaginable.
The 22-year-old had just four hours of practice in a car designed for a man much smaller than he is, but he hunted down his temporary teammate Bottas and appeared to have a first GP victory in his sights.
In the end, he was downed by bad luck and a rare error of judgment from the Mercedes technical team, but this was an extraordinarily confident performance from a young man who might be eyeing Bottas’ seat at the top table – a fine way to cap the 2020 season.
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