Formula 1: Three Contenders That Could Challenge Max Verstappen for the 2024 Drivers’ Title

Formula 1: Three Contenders That Could Challenge Max Verstappen for the 2024 Drivers’ Title

Ero Samson
updated at February 23, 2024 at 3:59 PM
  • The commencement of the 2024 Formula 1 season is on the horizon
  • Max Verstappen is tipped to retain the drivers’ championship crown
  • Sports Brief highlights three drivers that could upset the Dutch’s ambition

With Formula 1's pre-season testing now wrapped up, the focus turns sharply to the start of what promises to be the longest season in the sport's history at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Various teams and drivers have made predictions for the upcoming season, and one unanimous and perhaps inadvertent agreement among them is that Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen is the likely winner of the 2024 drivers' championship crown.

Max Verstappen, FOrmula 1. F1. Checo, Sergio Perez, Hamilton, Leclerc
Max Verstappen celebrates after winning the 2023 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Image: Gongora/Nurphoto
Source: Getty Images

The three-time F1 champion has been vocal about his ambition of being the best this season again, and his quest to win appears to have been soundly backed by the “rocket ship” of a car the team has developed for the season.

Throughout the rigorous testing regimen preceding the season, the 26-year-old consistently set incomprehensible lap times, surprising even the most sceptical observers with his sheer brilliance.

Verstappen's unparalleled dominance during pre-season trials prompted seasoned veteran, Fernando Alonso, to admit to that the upcoming campaign might witness a clean sweep, with the Dutch driver winning all 24 races on the calendar.

However, despite the prevailing sense of inevitability permeating the F1 paddock regarding Verstappen's prospects, Sports Brief delves into three drivers who look poised to disrupt the flying Dutchman's pursuit of a fourth consecutive crown.

Drivers that pose challenges to Verstappen

Sergio Perez

It might appear laughable that the Mexican driver tops our list, especially considering the Verstappen beat him in 20 of the 22 races held in 2023. However, Checo leads our list because he is the only driver in the same machinery as the Dutch champions.

Additionally, the 33-year-old has demonstrated resilience, as evidenced by his final season with BWT Racing Point, where he finished fourth in the drivers' standings, ahead of Alex Albon.

Charles Leclerc

The Monegasque driver has consistently shown the potential to one day win a drivers' championship, a trait evident from his early days at the Sauber F1 team.

Regarded as the best driver for qualifying sessions on the grid, the Ferrari driver's record of five pole positions in the 2023 season, which was dominated by Red Bull, speaks volumes about his potential.

With the positive review of the SF24 car, the Marenello-based team might have just designed for themselves a car worthy of challenging for an F1 crown.

However, if the 26-year-old can translate his qualifying prowess into strong performances on race Sundays, then Verstappen would have himself a challenge.

Lewis Hamilton

The seven-time world champion poses an outsider's chance of clinching his elusive eighth drivers' crown. The 39-year-old may not have secured a win since the 2021 Jeddah GP; nonetheless, one cannot rule out his chances of clinching a title in his final year with the Brackley-based team.

Hamilton's demeanour suggests he is ready to give it all on the track ahead of his switch to Ferrari in 2025.

The Mercedes driver could mount a surprise challenge, particularly given his positive appraisal of the W15 car compared to the W14 Silver Arrow.

Alonso makes 2024 prediction

Sports Brief in another report stated that Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso, has predicted the winner of the 2024 Formula 1 crown.

The two-time drivers' champion emphasised that the entire grid would only watch in awe as Verstappen storms to yet another title.

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Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).
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