When can Hamilton win the 2020 F1 title? How he can be champion in Turkey


Lewis Hamilton could claim a seventh F1 world championship in Turkey, but when is he likely to win the 2020 Formula 1 title? And what can Valtteri Bottas do about it?

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton bump fists at imola after qualifying for the 2020 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Luca Brunol/Getty Images

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

Position Driver Points Gap to leader
1 Lewis Hamilton 282
2 Valtteri Bottas 197 -85
  Maximum points remaining 104
3 Max Verstappen 162 -120


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 Hamilton can win the F1 championship in Turkey 2020 table

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?

Valtteri Bottas, 2020 Russian GP

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.

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Bottas could go into peak-career form and win all of the remaining races but it still wouldn’t be enough if Hamilton accrues 19 points — the equivalent of three seventh-place finishes and one tenth-place. Really, Bottas needs his team-mate to suffer similar misfortune as he himself did, with a retirement at the Nürburgring, to close down the gap as quickly as possible.

Should Bottas win the remaining races, he’d ideally need the fastest lap points as well and hope there are a string of retirements for Hamilton. A tied points result would be no good for him, as it’s now impossible for him to win more races than Hamilton this season – which would be the deciding factor if they finished level on points.

While Bottas has to go on a serious winning streak, he doesn’t have much to lose in that respect, so perhaps we are set to see a more aggressive driver like on the opening lap of the Eifel GP.

Forcing Hamilton to play the percentages could be the best bet for Bottas, providing he doesn’t suffer a DNF himself in the process, as that really would be the final nail in the coffin for his title hopes.