F1 2020 Driver Pace Prediction: Who will be your biggest challenge in career mode?
The new F1 season is almost here. Which drivers will be the fastest when the new game drops?
The Formula One season is, all being well, just around the corner.
Despite Coronavirus putting the travel of Ferrari and Alpha Tauri personnel in doubt, the premier motorsport competition in the world is set to return for a 70th season.
What isn’t in doubt is that the F1 2020 game is coming down the road too. British developers Codemasters are hard at work putting two new circuits into the game as well as a slew of new features that are sure to knock our socks off.
One thing that won’t be new though, is the different levels of pace between the drivers.
F1 games have always had slow drivers and quick drivers. F1 2019 allowed driver transfers for the first time ever, meaning we got to see Sebastian Vettel in a Mercedes and other unlikely scenarios.
How will the drivers rank this year? Using historical pace, winter testing results, and a few educated guesses, we have predicted how Codemasters will rank the drivers heading into F1 2020.
1. Lewis Hamilton
The six-time World Champion is, of course, top of the pile in Formula One.
Always an incredibly quick driver, he is consistently at the front of the grid, and his race pace can more than make up for any short-coming or issue in qualifying.
2. Max Verstappen
He may not be a World Champion just yet, but there is no denying that Max Verstappen’s talent, aggression, and determination is a deadly combination on the track.
READ MORE: Everything there is to know about F1 2020
He constantly gets the most out of his machine and Codemasters are likely to shake things up in F1 2020 and make sure that Max is a lot closer to Lewis than he has been in the past.
3. Charles Leclerc
This is a tough call, but we are going with the younger of Ferrari’s talented duo here. Charles Leclerc’s cool head and raw pace nearly saw him grab a dominant win in Bahrain last year. He had to wait for his first trip to the top of the podium, but he got there eventually and is sure to be a fierce challenger in F1 2020.
4. Sebastian Vettel
Vettel burst onto the scene at Toro Rosso and dominated with Red Bull, but his years of triumph have given way to inconsistency and mental struggles. A strong contender in F1 2019, Codemasters are likely to tone down the speed of the German this year.
5. Daniel Ricciardo
We head outside the big three teams for the next driver. The king of dive-bombs is next in our predictions. Daniel Ricciardo had a difficult first year with Renault, but his raw speed is not in doubt. If driver transfers remain in F1 2020 then be careful jumping into a Renault seat, as you could kick Ricciardo into a leading car and way up the grid.
6. Valterri Bottas
The Mercedes wingman takes our next spot. Valterri Bottas is a calm, collected, and consistent driver but he can struggle making overtakes and with one-lap performance. He’ll still be a strong driver that is unlikely to be cast aside quickly.
7. Kimi Raikkonen
Next up is the last World Champion on the grid, the Iceman Kimi Raikkonen.
He may be stuck in a less-than-competitive Alfa Romeo, but he still has more than enough quality behind the wheel to be competitive if the car develops.
8. Sergio Perez
Checo has long been the king of the midfield, and F1 games have reacted to that by making him a consistent driver that is always up in the points. If you jump into the Racing Point alongside him you won’t have an easy time.
9. Alex Albon
This is a tricky one to place. While Alex Albon will be in the quick Red Bull for 2020, he is far from proven when it comes to consistent pace. He could be as high as #6 on this list, or as low as #12.
10. Carlos Sainz
It’s hard to believe Carlos Sainz is just 25. He’s been a feature on the F1 grid for a long time now, but is still desperate for that first podium. Sainz brings a lot of speed, but his unproven nature means he could be more reliant on the car than himself.
11. Lando Norris
Sainz’s McLaren teammate Lando Norris is next in our prediction. The young Briton had a remarkably strong rookie season in F1, making overtakes, defending well, and qualifying consistently.
12. Esteban Ocon
The young Frenchman makes his return to F1 after a year out. He takes up the second Renault seat for 2020 and will bring his pace and aggression to the team.
READ MORE: F1 2020 Team Performance Predictions
He was fast in his first stint with Force India, but didn’t play well with others. Will Codemasters be able to make him as aggressive as he should be?
13. Pierre Gasly
Another young Frenchman, Pierre Gasly’s 2019 season was one to forget until he scored a remarkable podium in Brazil. Looking far more comfortable at Toro Rosso, he now leads the Alpha Tauri team and is likely to move his way up thanks to driver transfers.
14. George Russell
George Russell was a rocket in F1 2019, but was usually stuck in the dreadful Williams. The British constructor should be better this year, and Russell proved his ability on the track in his rookie season. Watch out for him to fly up the grid as the driver transfers take hold.
15. Kevin Magnussen
Kevin Magnussen is a dogged driver, but his window for competitiveness has gone and he certainly represents a step down in speed from Russell.
16. Daniil Kvyat
The Russian scored an unlikely podium last season, but his overall pace was up and down. He looks far more settled at Toro Rosso last season, but is unlikely to work his way up the grid in F1 2020.
17. Romain Grosjean
The chaotic Frenchman has always been quick, but his inconsistency and crash-prone style has capped his performance.
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In F1 2020 Haas are not expected to be quick, and Grosjean is likely to be the slowest of their drivers.
18. Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll is yet to prove himself to be consistent or fast. His father’s checkbook has helped him stay in the sport, but it is time to prove that he deserves to be here.
19. Antonio Giovinazzi
2020 will be a big season for Antonio Giovinazzi, who is struggling to stay afloat in the shark tank that is F1. In Alfa Romeo with Kimi Raikkonen, he has a high bar to clear.
20. Nicolas Latifi
Bringing up the rear is almost certainly going to be Nicolas Latifi. As the only true rookie on the F1 2020 grid, it will be a steep learning curve for Latifi, who has the tough job of working to return Williams to respectability.