The contenders for the 2020 Formula 1 driver’s title are Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, according to two-time champ Mika Hakkinen.
Widely considered to have the best cars in preseason testing, Red Bull’s Verstappen and Mercedes’ Hamilton are popular choices for the 2020 championship, but Hakkinen believes his fellow Finn Bottas will also be in the mix.
“Valtteri is definitely in a super condition, he’s prepared himself to a very high physical and psychological level to start the season,” he told Laureus. “He showed great performances in testing a few months ago, so he’s in very good shape and I’m confident that he will be showing incredible results.”
Additionally, Hakkinen suggests the unusual circumstances surrounding this season may put additional pressure on six-time champ Hamilton from both Bottas and Verstappen.
“Lewis will continue his great driving for sure. But when Valtteri has raised his goal higher and he’s better than ever, has Lewis done the same, because you need to improve all the time? You need to constantly be better.
“And it’s very tiring for the mind, very tiring physically, and it requires a lot of discipline. So Valtteri is ready, is Lewis ready?
“I certainly believe that Max Verstappen, for sure, with the Red Bull flat out, is going to go for it. Max normally will attack. He will take lots of risks. So the drivers who are out there, having such a long break from driving, are they ready to react to all the moves that Max is going to do?”
And while Ferrari were second in the constructor’s standings last year, Hakkinen does not see either Charles Leclerc or Sebastian Vettel joining the fight.
“The best performance earlier this year in testing was Mercedes and Red Bull. They were really cool, really quick. So those teams will be there. Is Ferrari going to be there, strong?
“I’m sure it’s going to be there too, but is it going to be the same level as Red Bull and Mercedes? I don’t think so.”