Thanks to the scourge of COVID-19, the March launch of the Formula One season didn’t take place. But by July, the circuit was off and racing, and 17 races fired off between the July 5 season start (Austrian Grand Prix) and it all wrapped on Dec. 13 (Abu Dhabi Grand Prix).
After the results came flying in, it begs the question: Will F1 betting be heavy on 2020 champion Lewis Hamilton, who tied Michael Schumacher for the all-time championship lead? Or is Hamilton getting a tad older and another up-and-comer might snatch the 2021 title? It remains to be seen, but Hamilton dominated in 2020.
The funny thing is, Hamilton sealed up the championship nearly a month before season’s end. That’s how dominant a run he had in 2020. He even had to sit out a late-season race because of COVID-19, and it didn’t matter.
On Nov. 15 at the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul, Hamilton dominated. It was his 10th victory of the season and it locked in his place in history with his seventh championship. Hamilton started the race in sixth, but a wise tire strategy by his Mercedes team helped him gain the lead and he joined Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel on stage for the post-race honors.
Hamilton would go on to win the next event, the Bahrain Grand Prix, to give him 11 victories on the season. He was able to coast from then on, missing the Sakhir Grand Prix in Round 16
The real battles of the season came for the No. 2 spot behind Hamilton and the No. 4 spot. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Finland native Valtteri Bottas, battled Dutch driver Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing Honda — and it didn’t disappoint.
With a 1st-2nd-3rd finish awarding the usual 25-18-15 points respectively, Verstappen made a mad charge towards the end of the season and came within nine points of Bottas. Both drivers battling for the No. 2 spot reached the podium in 11 out of 17 races, with each winning two races. The real toss-up when it came to F1 betting was … could Verstappen catch Bottas by edging him at the podium?
Only Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Perez, and Pierre Gasly won races in 2020.
The battle for fourth place in the final standings came down to a battle between Perez (Mexico), Daniel Ricciardo (Australia), Carloz Sainz Jr. (Spain), and Alexander Albon (Thailand). Perez wrapped the No. 4 spot, but the other three competitors were within 20 points of him in the standings.
Late in the season, it was a bumpy ride for Hamilton. He tested positive for COVID-19 with two races to go in the season. He went into self-isolation for 10 days, missing the second race in Bahrain, the Sakhir Grand Prix held on Dec. 6.
After making it through the virus’ effects, he made it to the final race and told reporters finale at Abu Dhabi, “I am destroyed. I do not feel good.” He fought through it though and took third place and was able to be on stage for the championship ceremonies.
Though he went through his challenges off the track, he was dominant on it and during the season passed Michael Schumacher for most wins in a career with 95. He broke the record of 91 during the Portuguese Grand Prix. During the 2020 campaign, he also set the record for all-time podium finishes (1st/2nd/3rd place finish) with 165.
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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has written for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All American teams, covered the FCS for HERO Sports, and wrote for so many newspapers he lost count. Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.