Ranking Formula 1's Best Rivalries in History
With so much at stake, it's little surprise Formula One has seen such tremendous rivalry down the years.
Sometimes, it's opposing teams going wheel-to-wheel in the battle for supremacy.
Other times, the heat of battle is contained within the very same garage.
But rivalries don't always have to be soured; Jim Clark and Graham Hill are a fine testament.
They went toe-to-toe throughout the 1960s, even as teammates in '67 and '68, but remained friends off the track.
Before we get into the top five rivalries in F1's history, a quick look at the Honorary Mentions who miss out...
Gilles Villeneuve vs. Didier Pironi
The tragedy of this rivalry, not to mention the controversy, make it a heated topic of debate. Villeneuve was enraged after Pironi defied a team order to hold station in the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix, and vowed never to talk to him again.
He didn't, because Villeneuve crashed fatally at the next race at Zolder trying to beat Pironi's time in qualifying. A brief but heated rivalry but, given that it spanned two Grands Prix, it seems unjust to put it in the top five.
Alain Prost vs. Nigel Mansell
Nigel Mansell had quickly established himself as a fan favourite at Ferrari, but new arrival Alain Prost made for a strained relationship in 1990.
The Brit suspected Prost was getting better equipment and even announced his retirement halfway through the year. Mansell blocked Prost at the start of the Portuguese round, severely compromising his race.
Though he remained in the sport after changing his mind, he did quit after winning the title in 1992, because Prost would have been his Williams teammate in 1993.
Mika Hakkinen vs. Michael Schumacher
Naturally, these two come close to cracking any list. But Schumacher's Ferrari was not good enough to give the Finn a proper challenge in 1998, and his broken leg at Silverstone denied a '99 battle. 2000 was the peak of this tussle, with Schumacher emerging on top to deliver his first world title for Ferrari.
The sole season Alonso and Hamilton spent together at McLaren saw sparks fly on a number of occasions.
Alonso, the double world champion, was being beaten by his rookie teammate. At Hungary, he attempted to blackmail team boss Ron Dennis—this was going on amid the Spygate scandal in which McLaren had obtained confidential data from Ferrari.
Both drivers attempted to baulk the other's qualifying efforts. From there, the relationship was in disrepair. It cost the pair the title, as their desire to beat one another allowed mistakes to creep in and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to claim the crown.
Jim Clark vs. Graham Hill
Two great British drivers (no pun intended) who demonstrated perfectly that hatred/dislike/controversy need not fuel an intense rivalry.
The pair had a more-than-amiable relationship off-track, but a fierce competitiveness on it. They shared several titles between them in the 1960s, including two years as Lotus teammates in which they were both champions (Clark '67, Hill '68).
5: Vettel vs. Webber
The two Red Bull drivers have had a strained relationship even before they began teammates.
Since Sebastian Vettel drove into the back of Mark Webber's car in the pouring rain in Japan, 2007, Mark's had a bit of a problem with the "kid."
In 2010, it exploded, quite literally, when the pair collided while fighting for the lead on the back straight in Turkey.
That was then exacerbated when Red Bull management sided with Vettel, while the rest of the motorsport world looked on incredulously and rightly apportioned the blame unto the German.
According to David Tremayne of The Independent, Webber's anger led to him declaring his Silverstone win was "not bad for a No. 2 driver" after the team took his front wing off when Vettel broke his (they were new wings, so there were no spares), and the Australian incurred the wrath of Vettel when, in Brazil, he appeared to not support his title bid.
2011 cast more clouds over the relationship as Vettel romped away with the championship, and Webber failed to retaliate in 2012 either.
But the start of this season, when Vettel infamously ignored team orders ("Multi 21, Seb. Multi 21...") to pass Webber for the win in Malaysia, was the final straw.
Webber's almost been resigned to Vettel's "protection" from the team, and has since announced his retirement from Formula 1 ahead of a switch to sportscars with Porsche in 2014, according to Sky Sports.
4: Jones vs. Reutemann
After winning the title together in 1980 in dominant fashion—Williams won the Constructors' title by 120 points—teammates world champion Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann were hardly at odds at the start of the 1981 season.
But Reutemann turned that relationship sour at the Brazilian Grand Prix, refusing to let Jones by despite team orders and angering the Australian.
The battle between the pair then raged for a full season, but they took points off one another and Brabham's Nelson Piquet was able to nick the title by a point.
Jones retired at the end of the season, and Autocar report that Reutemann suggested it was right for the pair to buy the hatchet.
Jones' reply: "Yeah. In your f*****g back, mate."
3: Hill vs. Schumacher
After the tragedy at Imola, the task of carrying Williams to the 1994 world championship was left to Damon Hill.
He fought long and hard with Benetton’s Michael Schumacher, a battle that culminated in controversial contact at the final round in Australia.
Schumacher had made a mistake, hitting the wall and damaging his car. As Hill came by to seize the position, and with it the title, the pair collided at the next corner.
Schumacher was out on the spot, Hill’s car was crippled, crowning Schumacher champion.
The following season, the pair came together again at Silverstone, though this was more Hill’s mistake than any Schumacher controversy, and both retired from Italy after contact, too.
Schumacher again triumphed that season, and though Hill would ultimately win the title the following year in 1996, those two years previous defined their relationship and their rivalry.
2: Hunt vs Lauda
A rivalry so fantastic it has spawned a major Hollywood blockbuster in the form of Ron Howard’s Rush and has been the cause of several documentaries.
The 1976 season resembles a far-fetched movie script, and with good reason. Niki Lauda and James Hunt were two very different personalities.
The Englishman was outlandish and quick but with a playboy attitude never before or after seen in Formula 1. Lauda was efficient, ruthless and 100 per cent dedicated to the job.
When Lauda had his horrific accident at the Nurburgring, a race in which Hunt had won, the flames had started to flare because Hunt had been stripped of victory in Britain, one that Lauda inherited.
Lauda then missed two races, and Hunt’s charge began. The rivalry burned so fiercely that the Austrian made a dramatic return to the driver’s seat despite his near-death crash.
From there, the battle raged, as Hunt looked to claw back a deficit of more than 30 points after a troubled first half of the season.
Despite Lauda’s remarkable return, he would only muster a handful more points, and Hunt was crowned champion by a sole point in the final race.
1: Senna vs. Prost
Signing these two together would have suggested the greatest pairing in F1 history.
And if you look at the stats, you’d be correct, as they swept all before them in 1989 and dominated the Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships.
But the relationship was tumultuous, not helped in San Marino when Ayrton Senna ignored a pre-race agreement not to pass after the first corner when Alain Prost had taken the lead, and came to a head in Japan.
With Prost leading the world championship and Senna needing to beat him to take the crown, the Brazilian dived up the inside at the final chicane. Prost conspired to turn in, the pair collided.
Prost was out on the spot, but Senna continued.
He won but was later disqualified after being accused of receiving an illegal push from marshals and of taking a shortcut through the chicane, rather than dangerously swing around and rejoin with oncoming F1 cars.
But if you thought that the Frenchman and the Brazilian’s tumultuous relationship stopped at Suzuka ’89, you thought wrong.
The following season, with Prost out of McLaren and into Ferrari, the pair met in Japan with the title in the balance yet again.
As they roared into Turn 1 for the first time, Senna moved to the inside to dart past Prost and take the lead.
The Ferrari looked to give him room at first but then jinked right to block him at the final minute, with disastrous consequences.
They collided, flying into the gravel.
Senna was champion.