A seventh Formula 1 World Championship for Lewis Hamilton seems inevitable after he won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and further extended his title lead over Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton can now win the title this weekend in Turkey as long as Bottas doesn’t outscore him by eight points or more.
F1 championship points after Round 12, Portuguese GP
||Gap to leader
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Max Verstappen’s retirement at Imola ended his already wafer-thin hopes of taking the title: he’s 120 points behind, with a maximum of 104 points available from the remaining four races.
This leaves Bottas as the only other driver still in with a theoretical chance of winning the title — if he can overturn the 85 point deficit. To pull it off, winning every remaining race is essential. Even if he does this, Hamilton could finish seventh for the remainder of the season’s races and still clinch the title.
A run of poor reliability, positive Covid-19 test, or contact with other cars poses the major risk to Hamilton’s title prospects. He’ll remember 2016, but would have to suffer a catastrophic series of events to lose this year’s crown. Hamilton could still win the title if he failed to score in three races while Bottas won them all.
When can Lewis Hamilton win the 2020 F1 championship?
Hamilton only needs to add another 19 points to his current total by the end of the season to be sure of his seventh title. He doesn’t even need to make the podium again to achieve this. On current form, however, you would expect at least another Hamilton victory this season, which would end Bottas’ hopes.
How Lewis Hamilton can win the 2020 championship in Turkey: every possibility
If Hamilton is standing on the top step of the Istanbul podium this weekend, then you will be looking at the 2020 F1 champion.
In fact, Hamilton will be crowned as long as he can maintain a 78 point lead in the championship. Currently 85 Points ahead, this means that he could finish second to Bottas and win the title — as long as Bottas doesn’t get the extra point for fastest lap.
If Hamilton wins — he is champion
If Hamilton retires — Bottas must finish sixth (8pts) or higher to keep his title hopes alive.
If Bottas wins…
– and gets an extra point for the fastest lap (26pts), Hamilton cannot win the title in Turkey.
– and doesn’t set the fastest lap, Hamilton must finish second (18pts) to become champion.
If Bottas finishes second…
– and sets the fastest lap (19pts), Hamilton must finish fourth (12pts) or higher.
– and doesn’t set the fastest lap (18pts), Hamilton can finish fifth with the fastest lap (11pts).
If Bottas finishes third…
– and sets the fastest lap (16pts), Hamilton must finish at least fifth (10pts).
– and doesn’t set the fastest lap (15pts), Hamilton must finish sixth (8pts) or higher.
If Bottas finishes fourth…
– and sets the fastest lap (13pts), Hamilton must finish at least seventh (6pts).
– and doesn’t set the fastest lap (12pts), Hamilton could become champion in eighth place with the fastest lap (5pts).
If Bottas finishes fifth…
– and sets the fastest lap (11pts), Hamilton must finish eighth (4pts) or higher.
– and doesn’t set the fastest lap (10pts), Hamilton could be crowned by finishing ninth with the fastest lap (3pts).
If Bottas finishes sixth…
– and sets the fastest lap (9pts), Hamilton must finish ninth (2pts).
– and doesn’t set the fastest lap (8pts), Hamilton only needs a single point from tenth place.
If Bottas finishes seventh or lower…
– his championship hopes are over, no matter what happens to Hamilton, as he will only be able to outscore him by six points (seven with the fastest lap).
Round 15, Bahrain, 29 November
Given Hamilton’s current form, the title race could easily be over by the time the paddock arrives in Bahrain, but let’s assume that Bottas wins in Turkey, setting the fastest lap.
If Hamilton finished second behind Bottas, then he would arrive in Bahrain with a reduced 77 point championship lead, requiring just a single point in any of the three remaining races (two in Bahrain and one in Abu Dhabi) to take the title.
Should Hamilton retire in Turkey, his title lead would have been cut to 59 points, but even with fresh momentum, Bottas would have little hope of becoming champion. Hamilton could afford to finish sixth behind a victorious Bottas on all three occasions and still be champion.
Round 16, Bahrain, 6 December
Bahrain’s high-speed outer track would be a fitting location for a title-deciding duel in the unlikely event that the championship wasn’t settled by this penultimate round of the season.
A double win for Bottas in Turkey and the first Bahrain race — along with the fastest lap in each — would put him on 249 points. As long as Hamilton has fewer than 301 points (19 more than he has now), then Bottas may start to dream.
Even if Hamilton didn’t score in the previous two races, and racked up a further retirement in Bahrain or Abu Dhabi, then finishing second, with a fastest lap, in the other race would win him the title — even if Bottas won all four of the remaining grands prix.
Round 17, Abu Dhabi, 13 December
If the championship race is still open at this point, then Valtteri Bottas will be on such a run of form; and Lewis Hamilton on such as disastrous run of luck that all bets as to the eventual winner will be off.
Even so, Hamilton will still be ahead in the title race if Bottas wins the previous three races and he fails to score in them all.
Can Valtteri Bottas win the 2020 F1 championship?
Bottas needs wins and a lot of luck to keep his hopes alive in 2020
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
Formula 1 often produces remarkable stories but a 2020 championship win for Valtteri Bottas would be one of the most astounding tales in the series’ history. Although he still technically has a chance, he’ll need an awful lot of luck with just four rounds remaining and an 85 point gap to make up.