F1 2013 Head-to-Head: Lewis Hamilton vs. Nico Rosberg at Mercedes

Fraser MasefieldContributor IJanuary 17, 2014

F1 2013 Head-to-Head: Lewis Hamilton vs. Nico Rosberg at Mercedes

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    Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

    In Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Mercedes has arguably the strongest line-up on the F1 grid, although Ferrari may have something to say about that this year.

    Many expected a tough contest between the two good friends last year, and so it panned out, with Hamilton edging his teammate by just 18 points by season’s end.

    Points are one thing, but did Hamilton really get the better of Rosberg in 2013?

    In our latest driver comparison, we evaluate who came out on top by looking at the key criteria of qualifying, race results and temperament. 

Qualifying: Hamilton Wins 11-8

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    Although Red Bull may have been the dominant machine when it came to race pace in 2013, Mercedes was practically unbeatable over the first half of the season when it came to one-lap pace.

    Hamilton won the team battle in the first three races, grabbing his first pole in China. A purple patch followed, with Mercedes securing eight of the next nine poles—Rosberg with three to Hamilton’s four.

    After the Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton led Rosberg 8-3, but the German enjoyed the stronger end to the season by winning the qualifying battle 5-3.

    Despite Rosberg having three more seasons under his belt at Mercedes, qualifying has always been among Hamilton's big strengths. It was a surprise that Rosberg pushed him so close. 

Race Results: Rosberg Wins 8-7

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    Although the points tally will tell you that Hamilton had the better of the season in terms of points accrued, Rosberg was actually the more consistent of the two drivers.

    However, it was the German who endured the horror start with two retirements in the first four races as Hamilton stood on the podium in both Malaysia and China.

    Rosberg bounced back strongly with victories in Monaco and Britain, cutting the gap to just seven points after Silverstone.

    It would be the closest he would get.

    Hamilton won his first race for Mercedes in Hungary whilst Rosberg retired with an engine failure after getting hit by Felipe Massa.

    Hamilton followed with a podium in Belgium, but it would be his last in a difficult end to the season.

    The more consistent race performances over the final seven races came from the German, who won the teammate battle 5-2, including podiums in India and Abu Dhabi. 

Temperament: Rosberg Wins

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    Hamilton has been known to wear his heart on his sleeve and speak his mind. However, there was more than one occasion in 2013 when he lost his cool.

    Having qualified a season-low 12th in Italy, Hamilton said he “drove like an idiot” in his post-session interview.

    More was to follow in the U.S., when he delivered some rather bizarre mixed messages to his team via the radio.

    At first, when told to look after his tyres, he told them to “let him focus.” Later, he criticised them for not giving him enough feedback.

    As quoted in the Guardian, Hamilton barked: "You need to give me some feedback, man, tyres, temperatures."

    Team boss Ross Brawn was quick to play down the issue, but clearly this is one aspect of Hamilton’s persona that still needs working on.

    We are just getting used to working with Lewis. I am sure there are different levels of frustration with him. The first level, you just wade through. It's part of building a relationship. It's not problematic.

    In contrast, Rosberg was the personification of calm. Even on the three occasions he failed to finish, the German was always pragmatic as to why it happened and never let emotions get the better of him.

    Therefore, even though Hamilton edged the points battle in 2013, it could be argued that Rosberg was the more rounded and consistent driver overall. It certainly gives food for thought for 2014.