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The leading contenders for F1 glory in 2020

UK Sport | Published:

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are among the leading challengers to Lewis Hamilton’s crown.

The Formula One season finally gets under way at the Red Bull Ring in Austria this weekend.

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will begin as the favourite to defend his crown.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at Hamilton and four other drivers who could challenge the Briton.

Lewis Hamilton

The Englishman has been Formula One’s class act in recent times, winning five of the last six world championships. Indeed, Hamilton will match Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven titles if he triumphs again this term. Although Hamilton is approaching the twilight of his career – he is 36 in January – his partnership with Mercedes has proven almost unbeatable and it will take a seismic shift in the sport’s form book to stop him from taking top honours once again.

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas is in his fourth season with Mercedes
Valtteri Bottas is in his fourth season with Mercedes (David Davies/PA)

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Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen won three races last season
Max Verstappen won three races last season (David Davies/PA)

Charles Leclerc

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Leclerc, 22, scored more wins (two) and pole positions (seven) than team-mate Sebastian Vettel in his maiden year in red and was rewarded with a bumper new contract last winter. Ferrari now view the young Monegasque as the man who can end a drivers’ championship drought which stretches back to 2007 for the famous Italian team. However, the Scuderia looked out of sorts in pre-season testing and could struggle to match the speed of Mercedes and Red Bull.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the season
Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the season (David Davies/PA)

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