Most Successful Driving Pairings in F1: 2000-2013

Oliver VeseyContributor IOctober 16, 2013

Most Successful Driving Pairings in F1: 2000-2013

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    In Formula 1, constructor's have two drivers each to maximize the points for the team. Paradoxically, your 'teammate' also becomes your biggest rival, as he is the most accurate barometer of your success.

    Historically, having a clear "lead" driver has proved beneficial.

    However, with Kimi Raikkonen joining Fernando Alonso at Ferrari for next season, fans are salivating at the thought of these two elite drivers racing each other in the same car.

    There have been many great pairings in Formula 1, and only time will tell if these two champions can be successful together.

    This ranking lists the greatest driving duos since then turn of the millennium, based on these key elements that are necessary for forging an effective partnership:

    - Extracting the maximum out of the car and winning Grands Prix

    - Competing & winning constructors' titles, without hindering chances of winning drivers' championships

     

     

     

     

     

     

Honourable Mentions

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    Ralf Schumacher & Juan Pablo Montoya: Williams

    Ralf Schumacher & Juan Pablo Montoya were teammates at Williams from 2001-2004, in what was by far their most successful period since Adrian Newey left the team.

    Together they clinched 10 victories and they twice finished runner-up to Ferrari in the constructors' championship.


    Lewis Hamilton & Fernando Alonso: McLaren

    If this ranking were based on talent alone, then this duo would undoubtedly be at, or near, the very top of the list.

    However, as things conspired they hindered each other in their attempts to win the drivers' championship in 2007, despite having the fastest car on the grid.

     

    Fernando Alonso & Felipe Massa: Ferrari

    Fernando Alonso has been dominant over Felipe Massa, taking all 11 victories in their time together, even if his team have certainly helped him at times.

    The Spaniard has twice taken the drivers' title to the last race only to lose out both times to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. Meanwhile, Massa has proven to be a solid back up driver for the past three and a half years.

     

     

     

     

     

10. Lewis Hamilton & Heikki Kovalainen: McLaren

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    After the fiasco of the previous season, Heikki Kovalainen was the clear "No.2" driver that McLaren needed in 2008, in order for Lewis Hamilton to claim the drivers' championship.

    Kovalainen did manage to win one race during his first season, however he didn't quite contribute enough in order to claim the constructors' title.

    Hamilton produced some great drives in 2009, when McLaren had an average car.

    Ultimately, he wasn't pushed nearly hard enough by his Finnish teammate, who had an underwhelming second season and ended up being replaced for 2010.


    Race Wins: 8/36

    Drivers' Championships: 1

    Constructors' Championships: 0

9. Kimi Raikkonen & Juan Pablo Montoya: McLaren

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    Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya only lasted 29 Grand Prix races together at McLaren.

    It was always going to be interesting when Montoya joined Raikkonen at McLaren.

    In the end it was the Finn who came out on top. He won seven contests, more than double Montoya's total of three.

    Had it not been for reliability issues, McLaren and Raikkonen would have won the constructors' and drivers' titles in 2005.

    With Raikkonen continuing his dominance over his teammate in 2006, and with a sub-par McLaren at their disposal, the Colombian decided to call it quits on Formula 1, and embarked on a career in NASCAR in the US.


    Race Wins: 10/29

    Drivers' Championships: 0

    Constructors' Championships: 0

     

8. Mika Hakkinen & David Coulthard: McLaren

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    A classic combo for McLaren, that produced two drivers' and one constructors' title in the late 90s.

    If those statistics had also contributed to this ranking then they would surely be ranked much higher.

    In 2000, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard ran Ferrari very close for the constructors' title. However, in 2001, Hakkinen's sublime ability began to wane, and Coulthard became the lead driver.

    McLaren also dropped off the pace of their rivals and the "The Flying Finn" decided to draw a close to his outstanding career at the end of the year.

    This duo were second in the constructors' championship in both 2000 & 2001.

     

    Race Wins: 11/34

    Drivers' Championships: 0

    Constructors' Championships: 0

7. Michael Schumacher & Felipe Massa: Ferrari

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    Felipe Massa replaced Rubens Barrichello as Ferrari's second driver in 2006, Michael Schumacher's final season before his first retirement.

    Despite narrowly missing out on the drivers' and constructors' championships, both drivers impressed throughout. In the end Schumacher won seven races, and Massa took victory twice.

    As a team they took half of the race win's available to them, however unfortunately they only had the single season together.

     

    Race Wins: 9/18

    Drivers' Championships: 0

    Constructors' Championships: 0

6. Jenson Button & Rubens Barrichello: Brawn

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    Brawn only formed as a constructor shortly before for the 2009 season.

    What a year it was though, with Jenson Button claiming six victories and his maiden drivers' title.

    Rubens Barrichello also won two races, doing what he did best and providing great back up in a world championship car.

    Moreover Brawn won the constructors' championship in their only season in F1 before becoming what is now Mercedes.

     

    Race Wins: 8/17

    Drivers' Championships: 1

    Constructors' Championships: 1

5. Jenson Button & Lewis Hamilton: McLaren

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    When Jenson Button joined McLaren in 2010 as the world champion, the majority of people assumed it was a bad career move and that Lewis Hamilton would blow him out of the water.

    To many people's surprise, Button proved that he was a worthy champion, and in their three seasons together he accumulated more points than Hamilton.

    However, Hamilton managed more race victories than his fellow countryman, winning 10 times, two more than Button.

    This partnership compromising of two world champions is another demonstration of McLaren's tendency (at least relative to their rivals) to not have a clear lead driver.

    Unfortunately, the British duo never quite had the car to take a constructors' title.

     

    Race Wins: 18/58

    Drivers' Championships: 0

    Constructors' Championships: 0

4. Kimi Raikkonen & Felipe Massa: Ferrari

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    Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa formed a formidable partnership at Ferrari, which yielded their last drivers' and constructors' titles.

    In fact, in both their full seasons together they took home the constructors' title, albeit somewhat fortuitously in 2007, when McLaren were disqualified, despite having a higher points total than Ferrari.

    In 2007, Raikkonen took the title at the last race of the year, and in 2008 so did Massa, until Timo Glock had an issue in the final sector allowing Lewis Hamilton to come through and cruelly pinch the title from the Brazilian.

    In terms of wins, these two were dead even with nine wins to each.

     

    Race Wins: 17

    Drivers' Championships: 1

    Constructors' Championships: 2

     

     

3. Fernando Alonso & Giancarlo Fisichella: Renault

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    Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella raced together at Renault during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

    They were two very successful years with the Spaniard taking two drivers' titles and Renault taking the constructors' title in both years.

    What makes the feat even more remarkable is that the team hadn't won the Constructors' Championship in nine years, and haven't won it since.

    Although Alonso was the clear main driver, taking 14 Grands Prix victories in their time together, Fisichella proved he was a handy "No. 2" driver, taking the victory on two occasions.

     

    Race Wins: 16/37

    Drivers' Championships: 2

    Constructors' Championships: 2

2. Sebastian Vettel & Mark Webber: Red Bull

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    With three consecutive drivers' and constructors' titles and well on their way to their fourth in both categories, whatever the relationship between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, one can't argue that they haven't been successful.

    Of course, the Adrian Newey designed Red Bull has been essential, but you still need the drivers to take the car home.

    That is exactly what they have done ever since they teamed up in 2009, even if there has always been obvious friction between the two of them.

    Vettel has had the upper hand claiming 33 victories, but the Australian has kept him on his toes, taking the win nine times.

    This remarkable partnership will only continue for a further four races, as Webber is leaving F1 at the end of the season, and will be replaced by his protege Daniel Ricciardo.

     

    Race Wins: 43/90

    Drivers' Championships: 3

    Constructors' Championships: 3

1. Michael Schumacher & Rubens Barrichello: Ferrari

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    This was one of the greatest partnerships in the history of the sport. It was due, in large part, to Michael Schumacher's phenomenal driving and Ferrari's dominant car from 2000-2004.

    Rubens Barrichello was exactly what Ferrari needed at that time, a competitive driver who was capable of winning Grands Prix, but who was never in doubt of his number two status, and happy to play second fiddle to the German.

    The statistics demonstrate exactly that with Schumacher grabbing 49 of the teams 58 victories while the two were teammates.

    Ferrari won five consecutive constructors' titles, whilst "Schumi" won five of his seven drivers' titles during their time together.

    It is also the only pairing on this list to finish first and second in the drivers' standings, achieving the feat twice in 2002 and 2004.

    Race Wins: 58/104

    Drivers' Championships: 5

    Constructors' Championships: 5