The question is not new in recent F1 seasons: Who can challenge Lewis Hamilton, the driver who is aiming for the 6th world championship in history?
After 14 races this season, the challengers begin to surface.
At the end of this month, Verstappen officially turned 22 years old. But this is already the 5th season he is present in F1 races, and just need to play 5 more races, this rider will officially reach the milestone 100th Grand Prix of his career. The Dutchman’s mark was shown at his first appearance on the Toro Rosso team in 2015. Shortly after, he moved to Red Bull and won his first win in the Spanish race.
Since then, Verstappen has got 6 other stage wins, including 2 from this season. He was one of the most impressive riders in the first half of the season, along with Hamilton. After two unsatisfactory races in Belgium and Italy, Verstappen is still considered a bright candidate for the Singapore race this weekend.
Leclerc impressed with two victories in the Belgian and Italy stages after F1 underwent a mid-season break. He was discovered talent by Ferrari 3 years ago. The career of the driver from Monaco is marked by the championship in smaller races such as GP3 or F2, before he came to Sauber racing team last year.
Leclerc on the other hand, had a much better impression than team-mate Sebastian Vettel. He is full of opportunities for the eighth time to overtake German riders in the class achievements, as well as to increase the current 13-point gap on the F1 race rankings.
These are undoubtedly the two drivers with the most potential to challenge Hamilton’s championship, not just because of their position in the rankings. Playing on top teams like Ferrari or Red Bull will increase the chances of winning the stage for Verstappen or Leclerc, thanks to their ability to compete on the most optimal motor vehicles.
Of course, this does not mean the hope of a full closure for potential drivers in less prestigious and financially viable teams. Faces like Alex Albon, Lando Norris or George Russell still have the right to dream of one day becoming one of the top F1 riders.