While Lewis Hamilton looks set for his sixth Drivers’ Championship, Formula One has some brilliant young drivers coming through ready to challenge the veterans Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for supremacy.
Hamilton’s Mercedes has been superb this year, and the Silver Arrows are near-faultless as a team.
Beating them will not be easy, but any reign of dominance comes to an end and there are plenty of talented drivers who will be fancying chances of being the next Formula One world champion.
Hamilton may continue to feature prominently in this year’s Formula 1 betting tips, but here are four drivers who will be popping up increasingly often…
Leclerc won the GP3 Series in 2016 and followed it up with Formula 2 glory in 2017. That earned him a drive at Sauber in 2018, where he recorded 10 points finishes, including five in the final seven Grand Prix of the season.
His raw talent was unquestionable in his first Formula One campaign. Leclerc’s 2018 performances earned him a seat-swap with Kimi Raikkonen for the 2019 season, putting the Monacan alongside four-time world champion Vettel in the Ferrari.
It was set to be a test of his credentials at the top, but one that the vast majority in Formula One expected Leclerc to pass with flying colours.
Thus far, he’s done just that. Betting sites are beginning to acknowledge Leclerc as a genuine contender for race victories, despite the fact he’s still waiting for his first.
A brilliant weekend at the Red Bull Ring ended in disappointment when he was overtaken by Max Verstappen, but that first win is definitely coming.
We’ve already seen Leclerc go toe-to-toe with Vettel. He’s outdriven his more experienced teammate for much of this season, and we can expect to see plenty more of it as he develops with the Italian team.
The 2019 Austrian Grand Prix winner has arguably graduated from ‘young driver’, though the brilliant Dutchman still earns a place on this list. Verstappen has won six races, collected nearly 800 career points and notched five fastest laps, but he’s still just 21 years old.
Red Bull are yet to give him a truly competitive car. The power unit is improved after the troubles with Renault last season, but Honda and Red Bull have not found a way to match Ferrari and Mercedes.
Once Verstappen has that, he will be a genuine contender for the podium’s top spot at every Grand Prix. Commonly considered the successor to Hamilton’s throne, there are going to be plenty of epic battles between the two over the coming seasons.
We got a taste of that when Hamilton held Verstappen off at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, and in Austria, we were given a teaser of what the next decade of Formula One may hold as Verstappen and Leclerc duelled.
19-year-old Lando Norris is at the forefront of McLaren’s rebuild. The British manufacturer have had a torrid few seasons, and lost Fernando Alonso in the offseason.
Investing in youth in Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren are building for 2020, 2021 and beyond. He test drove in 2017 and 2018, and has already repaid McLaren’s leap of faith.
Norris has been successful throughout his racing career, dominating Formula 3 and Formula Renault before a second-placed finish in Formula 2 last season.
We’ve already seen what he can do behind the wheel of a Formula One car – he’s finished in the points four times this season and that could’ve been more if not for retirements at the Spanish and Canadian Grand Prix.
McLaren have a fair way to go before we can realistically talk about a title. Norris has shown he can compete at the top, though, and could be challenging for podium spots before long.
Racing for Toro Rosso, there’s a direct path for the 23-year-old Albon to become Verstappen’s teammate in the not-too-distant future (particularly if Pierre Gasly continues to struggle).
Toro Rosso snatched Albon away from Formula E to pair up with Daniil Kvyat as their drivers for the 2019 Formula One season.
After finishing third in Formula 2 in 2018, Albon has settled quickly in Formula One, notching four points finishes in his first nine races including a superb eighth place at Monaco.
It’s still early days in Albon’s career. A title seems a mile away while he’s learning his trade in Red Bull’s sister team, though he wouldn’t be the first driver to go from Toro Rosso to world champion…
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*