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Will Anyone Other Than Max Verstappen Win The 2024 F1 Driver’s Championship?

max verstappen red bull

Answer: Probably not.

Whilst from a brand perspective, we have no obvious interest in who wins the Formula One Constructors Championship this year (Audi is still 2 years away from making its debut with/without Sauber, remember), that’s not to say we’re not all excited about the prospect of another exciting season playing out in the world’s most glamorous (yet gladiatorial) of motorsport arenas. 

We use the word, ‘exciting’ with a sense of possibly misplaced anticipation though. And to best illustrate that, we point towards the following circumstantial evidence.

Is Verstappen simply going to complete 24 victory laps (times however many actual laps comprise each individual GP) around the globe’s most prestigious F1 race circuits this year, or is someone else going to emerge from the tirelessly chasing pack and challenge the Dutchman’s daunting dominance.

max verstappen and sergio perez red bull

Well, Is He?....

Just two desert races in, things are already beginning to look ominous. And instantly familiar. 

Verstappen took the podium and led the Bahrain GP from start to finish; flitting under the Jeremy Clarkson-waved chequered flag some 22 seconds ahead of nearest ‘rival’ Sergio Perez.

A week on in Jeddah, the Dutchman seemingly strolled to a second victory in the Saudi Arabian GP, to claim his ninth win on the bounce and stretching back to September 2023.

Which made us question whether or not any other driver might, potentially mount a serious challenge as the new season pans out. 

2024 F1 Driver's Championship line-up

New F1 Season Off To A Controversial Start

Of course, the first GP of the new season risked being entirely overshadowed by a controversy which has rightly grabbed all the headlines ever since news broke.

Yet away from Jeremy Clarkson’s seemingly inebriated Martin Brundle-conducted grid walk interview, a far more sobering story continued to unfold. The one surrounding Red Bull’s Christian Horner.

Which has subsequently starred Red Bull’s Jos Verstappen.

As well as Red Bull’s Helmut Marko

Now, we are not in the business of commenting on serious allegations, nor are we going to trivialise those which have transpired. Suffice to say, this isn’t a good look for the planet’s most exhilarating motorsport and needs to be resolved ASAP to ensure damage limitations.

Verstappen Versus Verstappen

So, let’s take a quick ganders at the rivals to Verstappen’s superiority this year. And alas, it will be a quick one given the dearth of closest competition. 

But that’s not to say it’s a foregone conclusion.

Alas. It’s a foregone conclusion two GP’s in. 

Should miracles happen, the following contenders are waiting in the wings to pounce on any Red Bull shortcomings. 

charles leclerc ferrari

Charles Leclerc - Ferrari

Leading the charge for second place in this year’s F1 Drivers’ Championship is Charles Leclerc. Who - as well as being Harry Potter’s stunt double - is the only contender to realistically pose a serious threat to Verstappen’s seeming peerlessness.

Fast, French and in a Ferrari, Leclerc already trails Verstappen by 23 points in the driver’s standings however. So, barring a few Red Bull retirements (NOT Horner’s) and/or inexplicable losses of power, Leclerc is destined to finish even more points in Verstappen’s wake at the final reckoning. 

lewis hamilton, mercedes

Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes

When he’s not borrowing heavily from Jared Leto’s wardrobe and donutting his e-scooter around the paddock, Hamilton remains one of the hottest F1 tickets in town. And for reasons not requiring an explanation. But unfortunately he’s got a little bogged down with his Mercedes in recent years and is a man in transition. Especially with his shock move to Ferrari imminent.

So, will he simply be running the clock down on his Mercedes career this year, or will he be gunning for Max. Already some 43 points behind Verstappen, we’re thinking the former.

lando norris, mclaren

Lando Norris - McLaren

McLaren have high hopes for Norris, and point to impressive figures on the back of the 2023 Austrian GP. McLaren Team Principal, Andrea Stella says; “If we take a look at the numbers from Austria on, Lando is the second highest points scorer behind Max. This reflects the quality of the driving, the delivery he is capable of, which puts him at the top of the grid.”

Hard to argue against the stats, to be fair. That being said, Norris only has 12 points on the leaderboard at this juncture. And we don’t need Carol Vorderman to do the math.

carlos sainz jnr, ferrari

Carlos Sainz Jnr - Ferrari

For a while he lived in his WRC father’s shadows, some might say. Yet in recent seasons, junior Sainz has come into his own. Unfortunately because his seat at Ferrari has been hired out to Hamilton from next season, it might be a case of now or never for the driver who’s affectionately called, ‘Chilli’. On account of his fiery driving style and track tenacity.

Things you might not have known about Sainz Jnr include the following. He speaks fluent English and Italian (alongside his native Spanish) and is an accomplished surfer and bicyclist.

george russell, mercedes

George Russell - Mercedes

With the looks and persona of a home counties accountant, George Russell certainly knows his way round a PowerPoint presentation. Just ask Toto Wolff. Yet looks can be deceiving, as his racing pedigree has shone through of late.

Touted as the driver to break Verstappen’s stranglehold on the sport, Russell’s year may well be 2024. Or failing that, 2025. Or 2026. Basically, whatever year he’s not driving a Mercedes

sergio perez, red bull

Sergio Perez - Red Bull Racing

Despite being only 34 (whilst looking like he was in Alonso’s school year), Perez is a driver at the very peak of his F1 powers. Passionate, exciting, fluid, daring and of course, mercurially talented, Perez is currently on 36 points for the Championship and is therefore Verstappen’s closest threat as we pen this blog.

However, Perez was also the nearest challenger to his Red Bull teammate in 2023. Narrowly being pipped to the title by Verstappen’s slender 290 point advantage over him.

valtteri bottas, alfa romeo

(Keith Lemon)

max verstappen, red bull race car

The Best Of The Rest….

Elsewhere, and it’s hard to look beyond Valtteri Bottas.

Or to be more precise; beyond the 70’s porn star look Valtteri Bottas has dedicated himself to cultivating. 

But we must briefly stop sniggering and instead turn our attention to a young man called Oliver Bearman. Who at the age of just 18 stood in for Carlos Sainz Jnr at the Saudi GP, who was suffering from appendicitis in the run-up to the race weekend.

With just an hour’s practice and a qualifying appearance under his belt in the second Ferrari, the Chelmsford-born debutant started from 11th on the grid, to cross the line in an amazing 7th position. 

Certainly a name for the future. And one who might knock Verstappen off his perch. 

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