When Did Lewis Hamilton Last Dominate a Teammate?
Having lost out to his Mercedes teammate by 18 points in the 2013 drivers’ standings, Nico Rosberg recently said that his goal is to beat Lewis Hamilton in 2014.
Although Rosberg enjoyed a stronger finish to the season and won two races to Hamilton’s one, the Brit was the more consistent performer in only his first season with the team.
"My goal was to improve since last year, which worked out fine for me with two wins," Rosberg is quoted as saying on Autosport. "But with a cleaner season next year, I want to stay in front of my team-mate on points."
It won’t be an easy task for Rosberg. Hamilton is a formidable competitor and has generally had the better of his four teammates during his seven seasons in Formula One to date.
But has he ever really dominated a teammate?
Looking at his comparisons against each teammate Hamilton has had in F1, here are some stats and figures that Rosberg may find interesting reading as he seeks to achieve his goal in 2014.
Statistical data taken from FORIX and F1FANATIC.
2007, Hamilton vs. Alonso
There was almost nothing to separate Hamilton from Fernando Alonso in what developed into a bitter rivalry during the 2007 season.
Remarkably, both drivers finished with exactly the same number of points, podiums and pole positions. However, Hamilton was classified as runner-up on countback as a result of his greater number of finishes in second.
Hamilton certainly did not dominate Alonso during the season. In fact, few expected him to get as close as he did during his debut season. Indeed, he really ought to have won the title had he not allowed his rookie nerves to get the better of him in the final two races.
Hamilton: Championship - 3rd, points - 109, wins - 4, podiums - 12, pole positions - 6, fastest laps – 2.
Alonso: Championship - 2nd, points - 109, wins - 4, podiums - 12, pole positions - 2, fastest laps – 3.
Qualifying average: Hamilton 2.59, Alonso 3.18
2008, Hamilton vs. Kovalainen
Hamilton found himself with a new teammate for the 2008 season in the form of Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen.
Although both drivers were competing in their second season in the sport, Hamilton was McLaren’s "Golden Child" and the team was very much built around him.
It was never going to be easy for Kovalainen, and so it transpired as Hamilton clinched the world title in dramatic circumstances in Brazil.
However, on closer reflection, the teammate battle was not as clear-cut as it may appear. Kovalainen had the better of Hamilton in a third of the 18 races over the course of the season.
The Finn finished on the podium on three occasions and bagged victory in Hungary, but bizarrely the teammates never stood on the podium together.
Hamilton: Championship - 1st, points - 98, wins - 5, podiums - 10, pole positions - 7, fastest laps – 1.
Kovalainen: Championship - 7th, points - 53, wins - 1, podiums - 3, pole positions - 1, fastest laps – 2.
Qualifying average: Hamilton 3.2, Kovalainen 9.5
2009, Hamilton vs. Kovalainen
The 2009 season proved a difficult one for both drivers with the MP4-24 struggling against the might of the Brawn GP and Red Bull machines.
Hamilton secured only two victories en route to fifth in the drivers’ standings, but Kovalainen endured a disastrous season and was jettisoned at the end of it.
Hamilton: Championship - 5th, points - 49, wins - 2, podiums - 5, pole positions - 4, fastest laps – 0.
Kovalainen: Championship - 12th, points - 22, wins - 0, podiums - 0, pole positions - 0, fastest laps – 0.
2010, Hamilton vs. Button
A tougher challenge was expected from reigning world champion Jenson Button as he joined Hamilton to form an all-British dream team.
Indeed, it was Button who made the better start with victories in Australia and China propelling him to the top of the drivers’ standings.
Hamilton then led home a McLaren 1-2 in Turkey and Canada, and midway through the season he led the standings from Button by 12 points after the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton won again in Belgium, but that would be as good as it got as the title developed into a three-way battle between Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, with Vettel emerging victorious.
A close first season between the McLaren pairing was something of a surprise considering it was Button’s first in adjusting to a new team that was still in effect Hamilton’s.
Hamilton: Championship - 4th, points - 240, wins - 3, podiums - 9, pole positions - 1, fastest laps – 5.
Button: Championship - 5th, points - 214, wins - 2, podiums - 7, pole positions - 0, fastest laps – 1.
Qualifying average: Hamilton 5.2, Button 6.9
2011, Hamilton vs. Button
If Button pushed Hamilton close in 2010, he surprised many by comfortably beating him in 2011.
Although both drivers mustered three wins apiece over the course of the season, Button proved much the more consistent driver and put his McLaren on the podium in the majority of the races.
After some uncharacteristic errors in 2010, Hamilton was at it again, famously clashing with Button in Canada before admitting fault in hitting Kobayashi in Belgium.
It was the first time that Hamilton had been bettered by his teammate.
Hamilton: Championship - 5th, points - 227, wins - 3, podiums - 6, pole positions - 1, fastest laps – 3.
Button: Championship - 2nd, points - 270, wins - 3, podiums - 12, pole positions - 0, fastest laps – 3.
Qualifying average: Hamilton 3.58, Button 4.47
2012, Hamilton vs. Button
Yet again, there was precious little to separate the McLaren teammates in 2012, with Hamilton edging Button by a mere two points by the season’s end.
Hamilton only secured one more victory and podium during the course of the year, but still had the edge over a single lap, securing seven poles to Button’s one.
Hamilton: Championship - 4th, points - 190, wins - 4, podiums - 7, pole positions - 7, fastest laps – 1.
Button: Championship - 5th, points - 188, wins - 3, podiums - 6, pole positions - 1, fastest laps – 2.
Qualifying average: Hamilton 4.3, Button 6.45
2013, Hamilton vs. Rosberg
And so on to Hamilton’s most recent teammate, Nico Rosberg.
Many expected Hamilton to struggle against a man who had destroyed the returning Michael Schumacher over the course of three seasons, especially as the Mercedes team structure was far removed from the comfort of his McLaren family.
There wasn’t much in it by the season’s end, and judging by Hamilton’s battles with his teammates to date, expect another close-run thing in 2014.
Hamilton: Championship - 4th, points - 189, wins - 1, podiums - 5, pole positions - 5, fastest laps – 1.
Rosberg: Championship - 6th, points - 171, wins - 2, podiums - 4, pole positions - 3, fastest laps – 0.
Qualifying average: Hamilton 3.21, Rosberg 4.42