2020 Formula 1 Season Predictions

Welcome to another annual prediction challenge where I will lay out the drivers so we can revisit at the break as well as at the end of the season to measure my performance. Don’t forget to use the CYM Driver Comparison Tool if you get stuck or want to compare drivers.

Driver Rankings

You’ll find all 20 drivers ranked from P20 – P1 for the 2020 season.

Video Transcript & Link

After the 2020 drivers are listed, I’ll include a link to the video version of this content so you can better understand the prediction rationales.

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Nicholas Latifi

P20. New kid on the block in a struggling car. Not a whole lot he can do. 

George Russell

P19. Rising star. Loads of experience and has something to prove. But still in a Williams.

Kimi Raikkonen

P18. Less to do with Kimi flailing and more to do with the car. I don’t believe he’ll have a good set of wheels with the Alfa. 

Antonio Giovinazzi

P17. Similar to Kimi but with a bit more on the line considering his Ferrari drive is waiting. Antonio was better than Kimi after the SPA break and showed major improvement. 

Kevin Magnussen

P16. The Haas will be better but Kevin won’t handle Romain being quicker well which will lead to unforced mistakes. Removing DNFs, Grosjean scored in the points more and average pts/GP were essentially identical. 

Romain Grosjean

P15. Romain will have significantly better luck than 2019 when he finished the least amount of laps than any other driver on the grid. 

Lance Stroll

P14. I believe Lance has some pace. He just has to improve his Saturday’s to keep up with Checo or he’s in trouble. But expect a strong RP package. 

pIERRE gasly

P13. Gasly has pace and he ended 2019 well, it’s no question he was still on a high from his new found comfortability. When the tough gets going, I have to put my money on Kvyat. The midfield will be too tight and will Gasly is pure speed, it’s going to take some, at times, nastier driving to get ahead in 2020. I don’t think Gasly is all too comfortable there. Atleast not as much as Daniil. 

Daniil Kvyat

P12. Daniil is a driver that has a lot of attitude. He’ll need it and his strong moves he showed in 2019. If he cleans them up, his strong driving style will come in handy with a jam packed midfield. Whoever has the sharper elbows will put themselves in great situations and Kvyat I expect to do just that. 

Daniel Ricciardo

P11. Just as Kvyat got the best of him when the pressure was on – as did Max, I expect Ricciardo to struggle in this moment. I hope he doesn’t, but history says otherwise. It’s especially dangerous with a driver like Ocon breathing down your neck. 

Esteban Ocon

P10. A driver who knows how to get under skin. He bested Checo in quali in his final season. A very strong feat indeed. Ricciardo ultimately has too much to lose and Ocon too much to gain. 

Carlos Sainz

P9. While a strong drive in 2019, he should have taken more points considering P5 and the second Red Bull was ~100 points shy of the 5 year average. Mathematically those should go to Carlos but they didn’t. Plus, losing in one lap pace to a rookie teammate is a precursor to being unsurped as lead driver at McLaren. 

Sergio Perez

P8. Let’s not forget Sergio has breached 100 points not once, but twice for best of the rest in not the greatest car out there in 2016 and 2017. With an improved car, he’ll split the McLaren drivers. 

Lando Norris

P7. Second only to Grosjean in least laps completed, Norris’s luck was comedic. But with a young driver with one of the best starting positions in the midfield and developing rapidly, Sainz will trail his young teammate. 

Alex Albon

P6. He’s paired with a great driver in a car you are expected to punch above your weight. Tough situation. He has too much to make up on Saturday to jump Valtteri. 

Valtteri Bottas

P5. I see Bottas on a downward slope and he’ll lose the early advantage with the Ferrari boys tripping over eachother. But if he finds himself alone, he’s virtually impossible to beat. But his overtaking is lackluster according to the numbers. Because he’ll be forced to mix it up in 2020, I have dropped him down to resember more his 2018 performance. 

Max Verstappen

P4. Max is a rare talent. But he’s not yet been given the car he needs to win. and by the time he gets it each year, it’s too late. Nothing different in 2020. 

Sebastian Vettel

P3. This is a bet of Ferrari over Honda – less Seb over Max. Remove the emotion and it seems otherwise irresponsible to not make the decision. 

Charles Leclerc

P2. Wholly dependant on him and Seb figuring it out. But it’s undeniable his raw pace and skill. 

Lewis Hamilton

P1. The arrow is too quick. And Lewis has a level only a couple on the grid can match. Until their cars can keep up, Hamilton takes hardware. 

F1 2020 Predictions Video

Click here or the image below to view the video version of this post.

F1 2020 Predictions Video Transcript

You are here with me for the 2020 Formula 1 season predictions. So, prepare for probably some laughs, maybe some headshakes, and probably some outright disagreement. But we’re gonna get into every single driver, all the teams one by one, and talk about where I think each one will rank. And what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna go reverse, so starting at 20, all the way up to 1, to keep your interest. You probably could just skip ahead, but let’s do it in reverse order.

The 2020 season for me falls into two camps. You’re either in Camp A where the 2020 season’s just a throwaway or you’re in Camp B, and I think you can go back and forth, Camp B is this is a huge, huge season. And in my opinion of the hybrid era, this will be the best season. This is the season where the midfield, as we’ll talk about, is the closest we’ve ever seen, and there are major plotlines in the works. You’ve got Verstappen, he’s got a legacy to approve. Leclerc’s got one to build. Vettel’s got one to protect. Hamilton’s got one to extend. Ocon has, obviously, a chip on his shoulder. I honestly think Kvyat has a chip on his shoulder too. I think that’s one to watch. I’m very much in the camp that this is not gonna be [inaudible 00:01:03] season will be here before we know it and then we’re in 2021. I don’t think it will be like that at all.

P20 & P19

But let’s get straight into it. And starting at number 20, and we might as well talk about 19 as well because they’re on the same team. Nicholas Latifi and George Russell. Twenty being Latifi, 19 being Russell. This is not a write-off year. They need results, and they’ve had a lot of personnel changes. They are someone on the decline, and it sucks to see them fall like this, but they need results. They’ve got a change in Robert Kubica with Latifi coming up.

I think, personally, that George Russell is going to trounce Latifi. The place where Kubica was really doing well against George Russell was the first lap. Who has gained the most positions? Statistically, you look at it, and it looks like an anomaly, it’s Robert Kubica. But then, you start to back into the data, and it’s like, “Well, he’s overtaking his partner who outqualify him every single race.” Latifi has his hands full. I think that Latifi, obviously, this is a transition car for him. I think he wants to get into a better car from this role, and, obviously, with Russell being under Merc management, he’s obviously gonna be eyeing the 2021 seat. And I think depending on how this year goes for him, which in my predictions, we’ll get to what I think about Valtteri, but I think Russell will be in that seat. It’s not like Russell was scoring P19, P20, P20, P19. No, he’s got a P12 under his belt. Look for Russell. And he’s a rookie. And let’s not forget what he did in 2018 to some of these other rookies on the list. I think Russell will be someone to watch. I think this is something that people are underestimating.

P18 & P17

In P18 we have, and this is one, I warn you, you’re not gonna like, Kimi Raikkonen. And I know some of you guys are hearing that and going, “You’re crazy.” Maybe. I think this is the one that if I got two to three wrong, this is a big one. Kimi is the kinda driver that if he doesn’t wanna do something anymore, he’s not gonna drive. I think he’s trying to figure it out. He was tailing off towards the end of the year, combined with the fact that the car got slower over the year, and it’s also worrisome that Kimi’s contract’s coming up. For what I covered and what I saw, Kimi was always talking about the fact that they were losing time and he couldn’t really figure out why. I think he’s not really gonna wanna be on the grid anymore. And I think this season, it’s not gonna be a total waste. I think that 18, while that optically looks bad, the whole grid, all the way up to the top 3 teams, will be so jam-packed.

So, I’ve got Kimi very close to Giovinazzi. Giovinazzi will do better than he did last year, in my opinion. It’s the same kinda fierce. This car got slower, and it’s not particularly good for Giovinazzi because I do think he had a route. I think there was a path for Giovinazzi to actually be in that Ferrari seat next to Leclerc. He’d be the perfect driver next to him. He’d be an open wingman. Leclerc I think is in a class of his own, which we’ll talk about when we get there. But Giovinazzi would be someone that would walk in clearly the second driver, they’d have no issues there. Giovinazzi is someone that needs to step up. I hope that he outperforms what I have him at here. So, the 17th will be a moderately underwhelming 17th. I think Giovinazzi had the potential to do it, but I don’t think he’s gonna be able to deliver next year. If he was going to ever deliver in a year and it was gonna make or break his career, it’s gonna be in 2020, and I just don’t think he’s gonna be able to do it in that car. Not that I don’t think he’s quick enough, I do think he’s quick enough. The dynamics between these two will be that Kimi will be underperforming and Giovinazzi, I think, could do better, but he’ll be limited by his car, but he will outperform his teammate.

P16

P16, Kevin Magnussen. I think the car will be there, I just don’t think Kevin will. When you remove the mechanical failures, especially, and you look at the DNFs, take them out, and you compare Magnussen to Grosjean, which is why Grosjean’s higher on this list, of the points finishes, Grosjean was actually more consistent. And you think about the times last year where it was actually Grosjean’s fault, like legitimately Grosjean’s fault. And I’m not talking about Russia, which I’ve done onboards for all of those. Grosjean really had an unbelievably bad luck year. I think that he will outperform Magnussen. I think that people forget how quick Grosjean was. Yes, he leaves a pretty diabolical wake. But I will say that he has matured as a driver. And you look at his 2012 season in that Lotus, that 2013 season in that Lotus, I mean, Kimi won one race per season in those two years respectively, so it’s not like it was a race-winning car, championship-winning car. Grosjean was on the podium, he was getting points consistently. So, he does have it in him. In my opinion, he is still quick, but Kevin Magnussen, on the other hand, I just wasn’t that impressed, I really wasn’t. I think he has his days, but he was so much more inconsistent than Grosjean. You look at his races, he’s gone from P17, and not like as a product of he got bumped off the line or he was in the pit, it wasn’t there. But his in the points finishes where he took more points than Grosjean last year, they were just net higher. And, again, that’s fine, but when you look at the consistency of a driver over the season, I’d prefer to go with the more consistent one.

P15 & P14

So, with Magnussen P16, I really do think that Grosjean will be P15. Magnussen also, in my opinion, is a bit of a hothead. I don’t have a problem with it. I do think though that he will fight on track and he has no problem with it. Grosjean also will, but Grosjean, in my opinion, is more consistent, he is quicker, but I don’t think that’s gonna go over well with Magnussen. And when you contrast that to, say, a Ferrari, I think they learned their lesson, and I’ll get to that. But I think the Ferrari boys know where the limit is, I think Grosjean and Magnussen don’t. I think that this is something that while they kind of recovered and they’ve been a little bit quiet and they were preparing for the 2020 season, their car looks quick, I like the rake, I think that Grosjean will get the better of Magnussen, and I think that car will be decent, but I do think they will trip each other up. I think that’s something that Günther will not be able to control.

P14, I have Lance Stroll. And I am one of the weird ones that think Lance is actually pretty quick, I think, on his racecraft, he’s not just some rich kid’s son. I mean, he is a rich kid’s son, but he’s not in that seat because he’s just some driver that bought his way in. He was on Prema, he got his trophies. He hasn’t done what he should do, but, in my opinion, he’s also up against the most underrated driver on the grid, and the most consistent driver, and probably the pound for pound, in my opinion, if this was, like, a fantasy draft. Checo would be someone I grab immediately. And he’s way up the list, we’ll talk about it. But Lance Stroll has the unfortunate situation that he’s racing someone that’s really difficult to beat, and you can ask Esteban Ocon. And everyone’s saying, “Yes, well, he out-qualified him.” Sure, and that’s why we’ll get to it. But Ocon is gonna give Ricciardo problems. But Stroll, he’ll be decent. I think, like I said, this midfield would be close. So, again, optically, P14, not great, but this will be, I’d say, within 15 points, 20 points of P11. So, this P14 is up in the air, but I do think if someone had to lose out, it’s gonna be him, despite, I think, the racing point, having one of the best cars in the midfield next year.

P13 & P12

In P13, I’ve got Pierre Gasly. Yes, he’s going to lose to his teammate. Not because I think that he’s not quick. I think Gasly will lose to his teammate solely because Kvyat has a chip on his shoulder, he has something to prove, and I think he’s an absolute hammerhead, I think he’s a bulldog. If I had to bet on someone in the midfield to get a position that I needed to, and they were fighting hard, and especially if it’s a toss-up between the two drivers and teammates, I’m going with Kvyat, so that puts Gasly at P13.

Obviously, that’s going to put Daniil at P12. I think that that will be a battle, a fun one to watch, and the midfield, especially driven by these two will be incredible this year.

P11, P10, & P9

Now, let’s talk about P11, Daniel Ricciardo. The Renault will be lackluster in terms of car performance, combined with the fact that, for me, will be the season that Ricciardo is exposed. I don’t have anything against Ricciardo, and you can disagree all you want. The good thing is we can just wait and find out. While Ricciardo does have some strong performances, I think that Ocon will get under his skin. I think that Ocon is especially quick on Saturdays, which is where Ricciardo typically was beating Hulkenberg who had a pretty good season, in my opinion, in 2019. It’s unfortunate that it seemed like their mind was made up to get rid of them. But Ocon will prevail in this battle, maybe not even always because he’s quicker. I think there will be some errors that Ricciardo has been making. I’ve watched over the course of his career, especially as he progresses in age and tenure, he’s been making these errors. We look back at Australia, that’s one that’s, in my opinion, not really that forgivable. You’re at your home race, you don’t need to be making that overtake. I think when he has something to prove, it reminds me a lot of Seb. That’s another way to put it. And I think that that exposes him. He’s got way too big of an opportunity, Ocon that is, and Ricciardo’s got way too much to lose. Talking to Ricciardo in P11, we’ve essentially touched on everything for P10, which is gonna be Esteban Ocon, in my opinion. Ocon, like I said, will have something to prove. I think the Renault will be relatively quick, Ocon will come out a little bit ahead.

I’ve got Carlos at P9, and I think that a lot of people are gonna scratch their head or just outright not like it. When you look at, say, the gap from best of the rest, like, a Red Bull to McLaren, when you actually do it by percent change, this was the widest gap we’ve ever seen…the second widest we’ve ever seen in this era, second only to 2018. And, actually, in 2018, it wasn’t even Carlos leading the team, it was actually Hulkenberg, who Hulkenberg beat Carlos Sainz by 16 points. So, when you look at what Carlos should’ve pulled in a P5, so he’s got equal machinery, his teammates should’ve been right behind them or right in front of him. He wasn’t, obviously. Lando Norris had an incredibly bad year in terms of his luck. Carlos Sainz then also had the benefit of there being so much jostling from not only one driver behind him, but both of the drivers. So, you’ve got Alex Albon is, you know, in transition between the two teams, you’ve got Pierre Gasly in transition between the two teams, both of those kinda upsetting the balance of what they’re scoring. Once that gets reconciled, when you see that Lando Norris is, you know, having fairly decent reliability, or at least it’s parity with his teammate, and then you also consider the fact that not only will Kvyat have a good year, I think he will outperform the car, and that Gasly’s performance will be consistent, Albon will be consistent. All these things will now go back to normal. And I think that when those results normalize, Carlos, I think he’ll bear the brunt of it. So, now, it’ll be a pretty decent, fair comparison, one-to-one between him and his teammate, I think that his teammate will outperform him.

P8, P7, & P6

But splitting them is gonna be Sergio Pérez. The reason I have Sergio Pérez in eighth place is because he’s always been consistent. It’s no secret that I think that, and it’s no secret that I think he’s a valuable driver to any team he’s on for bang for your buck and just in terms of getting the points I need to get. I think Sergio’s pound for pound one of the strongest on the grid.

Seven, Lando Norris. When you look at his reliability, his season was understated. And kinda like Sergio Pérez who scored 9 of his last 10 races in the points, it’s clouded by the fact that he just got demolished by his teammate in terms of points, Lando Norris did, but all of his DNFs, for the most part, were mechanical, and there nothing he can do about it. The Delta from his performance in 2019 in terms of points to this season will probably be one of the largest we’ve ever seen. If he doesn’t encounter any sort of these major DNFs that he had in 2018, I really do think Lando is gonna outperform Carlos Sainz. I don’t think there’s any question about it. And I think he’s quicker on Saturday. And for someone who’s quicker on a Saturday, and is having some horrible reliability issues, and someone who’s developing, that’s when you have a recipe for…I think you should watch out. And that’s why I have Lando Norris above Carlos Sainz, which I’m probably one of the only people to do that.

P6, I’m going to put Alex Albon. This one felt very safe. I think that I want to put Albon higher, I just can’t. I think it’s the dynamics that are gonna be going on between one through five. He needs to perform better on a Saturday, and I don’t think he’s gonna be able to do what he needs to do to make up the ground. And it’s an unfortunate reality that the drivers above him are so talented. And that’s always the case, of course, but the Red Bull, in my opinion, at least in the past three or four years, has been a car that you’re expected to punch above your weight. His overtaking ability is strong, but at the same time, even if he corrects his mistakes, he’s gonna have to close up on max on Saturday to get higher up the grid. He’s gonna have to close out on one of those drivers, and I think the only person that is gonna be at risk with Albon, who I’ve got in P5, which is Valtteri.

P5 & p4

So, Valtteri being P5 is one that I took very seriously, it was one that I wasn’t sure where to put him, but I don’t think that he’s gonna be able to rise to the occasion. If this was any other year, he’d be right there in P2. I don’t think he’d overtake Hamilton. I think his last season, 2019, was probably his best shot because when you look at how he came out the gates, in my opinion, I think he had Lewis rattled, but then things start to fall apart. And, you know, he’s got a couple of performances you’re just like, “What even happened?” I don’t think it will be quite like 2018 where he had two poles, no wins, fifth place. I don’t think it will be quite like that, I still think he’ll win races, but I don’t think he’ll have, number one, the pole dominance he did, and Leclerc, I think as he progressed with the season showed that that’s gonna be something you have to pry from his hands. He’s gonna be quick. One of the quickest on the grid on Saturday, bar none. And so, I think that’ll happen earlier. So, all the benefit that Merc had in the beginning of the season…and, you know, everyone’s waking up, knocking the cobwebs off while Ferrari over there fighting, that’s not gonna happen. And I think everyone’s gonna come out pretty hot this season.

So, in P4, this is one that I think is probably gonna surprise most of you because it always seems like I tend to be favoring Verstappen, plain and simple. But, obviously, I don’t, and this isn’t out of principle, but I’m putting Max at P4. And I think almost everyone and their mother has him at P2, I just don’t agree. I think the Ferrari dynamics, as much as I talk about it, and as much as I seem negative about it, I actually think that it will wake them up. Because Verstappen doesn’t have a teammate like Vettel and Leclerc, like, they’re gonna be able to pull each other forward, I think that that’s gonna be his real issue.

P3, P2, & WDC

So, as we talk about P4 with Verstappen, we can just ease on into P3 with Vettel. While, yes, it’s probably gonna be a little bit volatile and they’re gonna come together, but no more than Vettel’s gonna come together with, say, Verstappen. So, I don’t think it’s gonna be a dynamic of, you know, interteam fiefdoms where they’re hitting each other, I do think though that it will be…you know, it probably will get chippy, it won’t be perfect, but we won’t have a bunch of Brazils over and over again.

Leclerc begrudgingly at P2. I say begrudgingly because I wanna put Leclerc as the world champion in 2020. There’s another gear that Lewis has that we’ll never understand, and I think we’re gonna see it next year. But Leclerc, for all it’s worth, I think he’s gonna give him a good fight. You see from Spa on, Leclerc looks unstoppable. And, like I said, for someone who…I can be critical of him, it has nothing to do with what I think of him as a driver, and I think under the right circumstances, with the right leadership, if they put him in a good position, he’s gonna be difficult to beat.

But, ultimately, when you combine the fact that Lewis is in one of the best cars we’ve seen in Formula 1, just based on the regulations we currently have compared to the rest of the grid, and the fact that he’s just absolute world-class, raw talent, undeniable, one of the best we’ve ever seen in a car, I think that Hamilton will win the driver’s championship. I think it will be a good fight all the way through.

2020 Formula 1 Season Predictions Conclusion 

So, that’s my 2020 predictions. And what I thought would be really cool…and if you hung around, thank you. Let me know what you think in the comment section. But wait, I wanna include you, right? So, this is fun for me, but I want you to get involved. So, go in the description, and there’s a link. And if you click that link, it’ll take you to a page where you can make your own table. And I think that at the end of the year, what I’m gonna do is do a big giveaway where I’ll give you some free gifts, whoever has the top winning percent. So, it will only apply to anyone who clicks the link, and it will be all your guesses associated with your ID. Once I have all the results, I’ll collect them, and then I’ll just keep tally. And then, the winner, like I said, at the end of the year, we’ll get a giveaway. So, go to the description below, click the link. And if you want to get involved, you can actually go ahead and make your own table. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed this, and we can all laugh at my predictions. I’ll do another video, obviously, at the end of the year, making fun of myself, or maybe I nailed it and got it perfect. But we will see. Thank you for sticking around. Hopefully, you like the new setup, the multi-cam, but this will be a lot more like what you’re gonna get in season. But, yeah, that’s my 2020 predictions. And I appreciate your time, and I’ll see you very, very soon.