The reigning world champion already has a firm grasp on the all-time pole positions record, and is starting down the barrel of a record-equalling seventh drivers’ crown.
Take a look at six big F1 records which should fall in season 2020.
Lewis Hamilton can match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven drivers’ titles should he claim on the bounce in 2020. However, the Mercedes ace can take full ownership of another of Schumacher’s records – most race wins.
It almost seems inevitable Hamilton will take the record, with the Briton’s 84 wins just seven down on the legendary German’s 91. Hamilton will have 22 races in 2020 to play with, and has won nine or more races in every season since 2014. Hamilton – who turned 35 last week – is also the only driver in history to have won a race in every season he has contested.
Lewis Hamilton is also odds-on to steal Michael Schumacher’s all-time podiums record in 2020. Schumacher completed his career having claimed 115 podiums from 308 starts.
Hamilton, meanwhile, has finished on the podium 151 times from just 250 starts. For the Brit, it’s a matter of when, not if.
RACES IN THE POINTS
Lewis Hamilton just won’t leave Michael Schumacher’s records alone! The seven-time champion German finished in the points 221 times from 308 starts between his 1992 debut and 2012 retirement. Hamilton is just eight points finishes behind Schumacher, as is Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton’s 213 points finishes have come from just 250 starts, while Raikkonen needed 312 starts. The next active driver on the list is Sebastian Vettel (195 points finishes from 240 starts.
CONSECUTIVE RACES IN THE POINTS
Lewis Hamilton already holds this record, having finished in the points for 33 consecutive races from the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix to the 2018 French GP.
Currently, the world champion sits on 33 consecutive pointscoring races ahead of the 2020 season opener, having begun the new sequence at Silverstone in 2018. Hamilton will break his own record should he register a top-10 finish in Melbourne.
Rubens Barrichello has been in control of this record for nearly a decade, with the popular Brazilian making a record 322 starts. However, another popular name in Kimi Raikkonen will stroll past Barrichello’s mark, with the 2007 world champion to make his 313th start when the 2020 season commences in Melbourne.
Raikkonen made his debut in 2001, and has been unbroken in the sport sans his two-year sabbatical in 2010 and 2011. Barrichello’s F1 career lasted from 1993 to his exit in 2011. Raikkonen will break Barrichello’s record at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix in early July, and should he participate in every race, will end 2020 with 334 starts.
YOUNGEST WORLD CHAMPION
Lewis Hamilton will go into 2020 as the one to beat, although Ferrari and Red Bull showed serious glimpses of development in 2019. Should either team mount a genuine title challenge to Mercedes in 2020, then a youngest world champion could be crowned.
Youth seems to have the backing of big teams, with 22-year-olds Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc earning massive contract extensions with Red Bull and Ferrari respectively. Verstappen is already the youngest ever race winner, but Leclerc – with his new deal – is the man Ferrari believe can return the Scuderia to title-winning ways long term after Sebastian Vettel came so close, yet fell so far in 2017 and 2018.
Should either of Verstappen or Leclerc reach the pinnacle in 2020, then Vettel’s youngest-ever world champion record set in 2010 – at the age of 23 years and 134 days – will be beaten.
“Today it was, again, a stage with full attack,” said Peterhansel.
“We tried to push at full attack from the beginning, but never opening the gas too much.”
Local favourite Yasir Seaidan (Race) came in third while overall race leader Sainz finished fifth, 6min 31 sec off the pace.
The veteran Spaniard, in his Mini, was off the leading duo’s pace all stage, and sees his lead cut to just 24 sec over Toyota’s Al-Attiyah.
Peterhansel remains in third place in the general classification, 6:38 off the pace.
Al-Attiyah said he was content with a good day’s racing.
“We tried to do our best and today I think we did a really good stage,” said the driver who has represented Qatar in six Olympic Games, winning bronze in the men’s skeet event in London in 2012.
“I’m quite happy to close the gap with Carlos.
“I think tomorrow and after tomorrow will be very, very difficult for everybody. It’s good tomorrow that Stephane is opening on marathon day. We’ll see now about Carlos, but, okay, it looks like the three cars are very close together. For all three of us, it is possible that one can win the Dakar.”
Peterhansel added: “We’ll try to keep the pressure on the leader.”
In the motorbike category, resuming after stage eight was cancelled following the death of Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves, Pablo Quintanilla notched up his first win.
The Chilean, on a Husqvarna, won the special with a lead of almost two minutes over Australia’s defending champion Toby Price.
As a result, he continues to put pressure on general standings leader Ricky Brabec, the American Honda rider nevertheless managing to limit the damage (+20:53) by finishing less than four minutes behind the day’s winner in fourth spot.
Wednesday’s stage 10 from Haradh to Shubaytah takes competitors into the infamous ‘Rub al-Khali’ or ‘Empty Quarter’, a huge sand desert that spreads from host country Saudi Arabia into neighbouring Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Vast off-road expanses feature, with the last 30 kilometres of the stage going right through the dunes in what promises to be a tough challenge.
Under pressure from Price and the Honda duo of Joan Barreda and Brabec, Quintanilla pulled away as the stage wound down and eventually ousted Price by 1m54s.
A small crash didn’t hinder Barreda, who finished third, while Brabec finished fourth.
American Brabec still leads by 20m53s over Quintanilla, with Price and Barreda moving up to third and fourth respectively.
The latter duo demoted Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda), who finished eighth in the stage. Ross Branch (KTM) was fifth ahead of Benavides brothers Kevin (Honda) and Luciano (KTM).
That been said, I’m happy to have that stage behind me and now I can really focus on the small number of remaining days to try and close this gap up to the lead, bring in the marathon stage tomorrow! https://t.co/lxUTE7AIml
It was Quintanilla’s first stage win of the 2020 rally and, like Price, went on the attack in a bid to cut the deficit to Brabec.
The longest of the three remaining stages, Wednesday’s Stage 10 from Haradh to Shubaytah, will see riders approach the “Empty Quarter” where the final stanza of the stage carries on through thick dunes.
A fourth career Dakar podium is now in Price’s hands, but the Aussie remains optimistic Brabec’s lead isn’t set in stone.
“Another long stage today covering 410km wide open at top speed, with the stage been so fast it is really difficult to make any time up on other competitors due to us all being able to follow and do much the same,” he posted to social media.
“That been said, I’m happy to have that stage behind me and now I can really focus on the small number of remaining days to try and close this gap up to the lead, bring in the marathon stage tomorrow.”