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Top Formula 1 stars eager to get off to a flyer in 2020

With just under two months to go before the start of the 2020 Formula 1 season, exciting is beginning to mount in motor racing circles.

Lewis Hamilton is chasing his fourth successive title and seventh overall, but the British star is expected to face plenty of stiff competition this year.

Charles Leclerc may emerge as his closest challenger after an impressive debut year with Ferrari, while Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen should also be in the mix.

Hamilton got off to a flying start in 2019, winning two of the first three races, and he will be eager to produce something similar this time around.

However, with a slightly different schedule at the start of the season to contend with, the 35-year-old may not have things all his own way. Read on as we look at this season’s first three Grand Prix.

Australia – March 15

Hamilton claimed pole position in Melbourne last year, but he was comprehensively outgunned by Bottas during the race and had to settle for second place.

The Brit has now finished as runner-up in his last four outings in Australia and will be eager to snap that streak this season.

Bottas can be expected to give him a run for his money once again, while Verstappen will hope to improve on last year’s third place finish.

Leclerc and Ferrari teammate, Sebastien Vettel, will also be keen to impress, but Hamilton or Bottas appeal as the most likely winners.

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Bahrain – March 22

The F1 circus heads to Bahrain the following weekend for a race that potentially gives Ferrari a chance to shine.

Leclerc and Vettel locked out the front of the grid during qualifying last year and will hope to produce a similar result this season.

They were eventually overhauled by Hamilton and Bottas during the race, with the Mercedes pair securing their second consecutive 1-2.

However, Leclerc finished just over six seconds off top spot and will fancy his chances of bridging the gap with that experience under his belt.

Vettel ended up a long way back in fifth place after making a mistake on lap 38 and will undoubtedly be out to make amends.

Vietnam – April 5

Vietnam joins the Formula 1 party for the first time in 2020, with a stunning new street circuit in Hanoi set to stage the debut race.

The circuit has taken its inspiration from numerous other iconic tracks, with the early sections bearing likeness to both the Nurburgring and Monaco.

Two long straights have been included to increase the prospects of overtaking, while a short pit lane should open up different strategy options.

With no previous form to go on predicting a winner is difficult, although Hamilton does boast an impressive record around tight tracks.

One top driver who may struggle in Vietnam is Verstappen, with the Dutch star making no secret of his dislike for street circuits.

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