RACE DEBRIEF

    Twenty-two races, a record-equalling seventh championship up for grabs – and then the biggest threat to Mercedes’ domination yet. 2020 is set up to be an enthralling contest, but it’s easy to miss some of the other achievements up for grabs. Here are eight records that could be smashed in F1’s 70th anniversary season.

    1. Race wins

    Lewis Hamilton sits just seven race wins behind Michael Schumacher's record of 91, and – having averaged nine wins per season since joining Mercedes in 2013 (and being the only driver in history to have scored at least one win in every season he has competed) - the Briton has this record firmly in his sights. Schumacher, however, took just 248 GPs to achieve his 91 wins while Hamilton has started 250 ahead of the 2020 season, which shows just how dominant the Schumacher-Ferrari pairing was at the start of the century. Some thought this record might never be broken. Well, it just might...

    READ MORE: Hamilton and Ricciardo take control of the 2021 F1 merry-go-round

    2. Consecutive constructors’ championships

    With number seven in their sights Mercedes are in contention to beat Ferrari's record set in 2004, as the Silver Arrows have taken six constructors’ titles in a row since 2014. Another one, and Mercedes could also become the first engine manufacturer to power seven consecutive drivers' championships since Ford-Cosworth did from 1968 to 1974.

    READ MORE: Why McLaren and Mercedes have joined forces again for 2021

    3. Youngest world champion

    With Ferrari and Red Bull bearing down on Mercedes, could this be the year that Ferrari's youngest winner Charles Leclerc or youngest ever GP winner Max Verstappen become the youngest champ in history? If either of the 22-year-olds wins it all, they will beat Sebastian Vettel’s record when he became world champion at the age of 23 years and 134 days in 2010.

    READ MORE: Verstappen vs Leclerc – A storied rivalry now on the biggest stage

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    4. Races finished in points

    Michael Schumacher finished in the points a whopping 221 times between 1992 and 2008, but Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen are just eight behind the record. As for consecutive points scores, Hamilton holds this record already, having finished in the points for 33 consecutive races from the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix to the 2018 French GP. He sits on 33 consecutive point-scoring races ahead of the 2020 season, on a sequence that began at the 2018 British GP. Provided Mercedes avoid disaster in Australia (not entirely unheard of), then Hamilton could set a new record.

    READ MORE: Ranking Hamilton's 6 titles – Opinion

    5. Races started

    With 322 starts, Rubens Barrichello owns this record having started in 1993 and retired in 2011 – but Raikkonen is on 312 GP starts before the 2020 season. It’ll be the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix where the Iceman stands to break the record of most GP starts - and who would have thought that when his initial Ferrari dream ended in 2009?

    READ MORE: The inside story of Kimi Raikkonen's legendary first F1 test

    6. Pole positions at the same race

    Pole for Hamilton in Australia will give him a record nine pole positions at that venue, breaking the existing record jointly held by himself, Ayrton Senna and Schumacher for poles at one Grands Prix/one venue. Suprisingly, for all that success, Hamilton's conversion rate isn't actually that great Down Under, with just two wins scored in Melbourne.

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    7. Grands Prix won having led every lap

    Ayrton Senna led every lap for 19 of his 41 Grand Prix victories, a record that Hamilton currently sits level on, having led every lap for the 2019 Chinese, Spanish, Monaco, French and Abu Dhabi GPs. The Grand Slam/Grand Chelem record (achieved when a driver scores pole, the fastest lap and leads every lap to win) is currently held by Jim Clark. Two more, and Hamilton could equal his fellow Briton who holds the record of eight Grand Slams.

    READ MORE: Clark obliterates opposition at ‘hated’ Spa – F1's Best Drives

    8. Podium finishes

    Just four off Schumacher’s record of 155 podiums (from 308 starts), Hamilton is on 151 going into the 2020 season – from just 250 starts. It’s surely just a matter of when the defending champion will break this record…

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