F1 team-mates head to head: Which was the closest intra-team battle?
With the 2017 F1 season now behind us (urghh!) we’ve pulled together all the data to judge the winner of each intra-team head-to-head (H2H) battle. We also tease out the nuances of each rivalry and find out where each driver shines.
For a full description of the stats check out our H2H Explanatory Notes.
As you’ll no doubt agree it’s difficult to capture everything in just six factors but we think these stats go a long way towards painting a picture of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each driver.
So, here are the team-by-team winners from 2017...
NOTE: Because Hamilton and Bottas have both won races, we have measured their 'BEST RESULT' by how many wins they each have
WINNER: Lewis Hamilton, 5-1
In his fourth Championship winning year Lewis Hamilton was dominant over his new Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Bottas managed to score a win on a single factor – laps in the top 10.
Considering the impressive reliability of Mercedes (only one DNF for the team for Bottas in Spain) and their regular appearance at the pointy end of the field this factor was very close and couldn’t be considered much of a feather in the Finn’s cap.
More impressive is Hamilton’s nine victories to Bottas’ three. A Championship winning factor result if ever there was one.
Lewis’ ability to get the best out of a car in one flying lap is also highlighted in the 13 to 7 win over Valtteri in qualifying. Not only did Hamilton comprehensively beat Bottas in poles in 2017 he also beat a far more decorated driver – Michael Schumacher. At Monza Lewis scored his 69th pole position of his career taking the record for the most pole positions ever from the seven time World Champion.
Given the twin challenges of integrating with a new team and dealing with an imperious Lewis Hamilton Bottas ended the season admirably. Two poles and a win in the final two races of the season certainly helped Valtteri’s final head to head result after relatively poor performances in many races following the mid-season break.
The Finns certainly punch above their weight in Formula 1 but to beat Lewis Hamilton in our H2H matchup in 2018 Bottas is going to have to tap an extra vein of Finnish Sisu and move to a higher and more consistent level of performance.
WINNER: Sebastian Vettel, 5-1
The season that almost was for Ferrari. So how did the scarlet marque’s drivers compare? It was a relatively one sided affair but not without exception.
Sebastian Vettel scored five race wins for the year compared to Kimi Raikonnen’s two second places. This is clearly a significant defeat for the Finn and is obviously reflected in the 112 point gap in the Championship.
Seb’s abilty to pull out a lap in qualifying was also a highlight for the Scuderia in 2017. His 15:5 result was only bettered in team head to heads by Fernando Alonso (16:3) and Felipe Massa (17:2) - though the Hulk wiped the floor with Jolyon Palmer 15:0 in their limited race weekends together.
There was however a glitch in the matrix in terms of Vettel’s one lap pace – achieving fastest lap in a race (traditionally a focus for the four time Champ). In this factor Raikonnen was the winner (albeit by only one point) outscoring Vettel for Fastest Lap in the 17 races that both drivers finished.
Though a perennial fan favourite it’s hard to see Kimi consistently beating Sebastian in H2H factors in 2018. Even so “the Kimster” will likely be a crucial player in helping Ferrari challenge for a win in both the drivers and constructors championships in 2018.
WINNER: Sergio Perez, 6-0
A relative minnow in the team budget stakes Force India punched way above their weight in 2017 to finish fourth in the Championship. Both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were consistently in the points and our analysis at the halfway stage of the season showed both drivers were fantastic value for money.
What is surprising is that in head to head Checo Perez wiped the floor 6-0 against his rookie team mate – the only driver on the grid to manage a clean sweep! The result is surprising because at so many times during the season the two pink cars were racing (and crashing!) wheel to wheel and could hardly be separated. The closeness of the drivers even forced (pardon the pun) the team to stop the two racing each other.
In isolation the result looks like a dominant win to the Mexican but the radar clearly shows the young Frenchman was extremely close in many of the factors. Perez certainly had the advantage in one lap speed and was dominant in both qualifying and fastest laps. In the other factors Ocon was very close to his far more experienced team mate. His rookie year was indeed so impressive that many are talking about the likeable Frenchman as a potential future World Champion.
What is clear from both the team and driver results is that Force India has an excellent foundation to continue its strong showing in 2018.
WINNER: Fernando Alonso, 5-1
Another difficult year for the British marque, its rookie driver, and the two time World Champion. McLaren was one of five teams who ran more than two drivers during the season when Jenson Button replaced the Indy 500-bound Fernando Alonso. In terms of head to head analysis JB’s one-off cameo at Monaco was impressive in that he managed to out-qualify Vandoorne. Unfortunately neither driver managed to finish the race.
Between their main drivers Fernando’s 5:1 H2H win over Stoffel was not unexpected from arguably one of the best drivers on the grid. The rookie Belgian certainly seemed to find more performance toward the end of the season and is no doubt a huge talent. What won’t be pretty reading for Vandoorne is Alonso’s dominant performance in qualifying.
With a season under his belt it will be very interesting to see how Vandoorne performs against Alonso in 2018. Indeed it will be very interesting to see how McLaren performs against the rest of the field with a new Renault power train paired with what appears to be one of the best chassis on the grid.
WINNER: Pascal Wehrlein, 5-1
2017 was another difficult year for Sauber. But whether at the front or rear of the grid all a driver can do to raise their capital is outperform their teammate in identical machinery. To this end Pascal Wehrlein clearly outscored Marcus Ericsson in our six H2H factors. .
Perhaps the most significant win for the German was scoring points for the team at both Spain and Azerbaijan. At the end of the season points equate to dollars for the team and with these two results Pascal will have more than repaid his relatively modest salary.
We should note that Antonio Giovinazzi replaced Wehrlein for two races due to the latter’s injury in a pre-season Race of Champions incident. The Italian acquitted himself reasonably well but was out-qualified twice by the more experienced Swede.
Unfortunately for Wehrlein outperforming his teammate wasn’t enough to secure him a seat on the grid in 2018. For Sauber, Ericsson and his new teammate Charles Leclerc perhaps closer ties with Ferrari and Alfa Romeo in 2018 will bring their head to head battles closer to the other mid-field teams.
WINNER: Draw, 3-3
The American team’s second season in F1 was somewhat inconsistent but their two drivers could hardly be separated. For the majority of the year Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were neck and neck in their H2H factor scores. The final result – a three all draw. This was the only drawn H2H matchup of all the teams!
The radar shows how close the two drivers were to each other. The biggest difference in performance was the qualifying and points results – both factor wins going to the Frenchman.
With a number of seats in top teams potentially becoming available in 2019 both Roman and Kevin have a lot to play for in 2018. It will be fascinating to see if HAAS can take a step forward in consistency next year and if one of their drivers can sufficiently outperform the other to stake a claim for a potentially Championship winning seat in 2019.
WINNER: Felipe Massa, 4-2
2017 was an interesting year for driver head to heads at Williams. The oldest and most experienced driver on the grid against the youngest rookie plus a brief one race cameo by a reserve driver who doubles as a Sky commentator!
Firstly to Paul di Resta. Head-to-head he was out-qualified by Lance Stroll and didn’t finish the race in Hungary but he still out-qualified a Sauber and was only seven tenths behind his teammate. Not bad given given how little preparation he had. Following an illness to Felipe Massa, di Resta was thrust into the action at the last minute having never previously driven the car and performed admirably. It was an impressive weekend by the Scot.
After a bit of a shaky start to the season for the Canadian the radar shows Stroll performed reasonably well against his far more experienced teammate. Stroll’s third place in Azerbaijan was significantly better than Felipe’s pair of sixth places and helped him come within 3 points of the Brazilian in the Championship.
The biggest performance difference was in qualifying with Felipe dominating Lance 17 to 2. It remains unclear who Stroll’s teammate for 2019 will be. What is clear is that he is going to need to significantly improve his one lap pace to get the better of a potentially more experienced teammate – perhaps one who was previously rated as a future World Champion.
WINNER: Nico Hulkenberg, 5-0 with 1 draw
Renault driver head to heads are a tale of two matchups in 2017. Hulkenberg versus Palmer for 16 races and Hulkenberg against Sainz for the remaining four.
It’s amazing that Nico Hulkenberg is yet to claim an F1 podium despite his undeniable pace and race craft. Both these abilities were clearly on display in his H2H battle with Jolyon Palmer. Palmer a former Formula 2 Champion was no match for Hulkenberg and the H2H score and radar is a sorry sight for fans of the Brit.
Jolyon had impressive moments, particularly his sixth place in Singapore but unfortunately they were few and far between. Nico’s outstanding performance in out-qualifying his teammate in every race in which they competed was unmatched by any other driver.
WINNER: Nico Hulkenberg, 5-1
When Carlos Sainz moved to Renault the head to head with Hulkenberg was a mouth watering one. Four races is a small sample size but the prospect of a close battle in 2018 looms large. 3:1 qualifying to The Hulk and 3:1 fastest lap to Chili is perhaps a teaser of how hard these two will push each other in 2018.
If Renault can put a solid package together for 2018 it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in this quality lineup.
WINNER: Carlos Sainz, 5-1
2017 was a tumultuous year for the Italian team. With four different drivers taking the grid our head to heads lack consistency. With 14 race starts against each other Daniil Kvyat and Carlo Sainz were the main protagonists. As the radar shows the Spaniard was relatively dominant over his Russian teammate.
The only factor where Daniil showed a clear advantage was fastest race lap where he had an uncanny knack of besting his Spanish teammate. Unfortunately for Kvyat in terms of Championship points Sainz was massively dominant scoring 48:4.
Two new drivers took over the seats toward the end of the season. Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley only raced against each other in the final two races and were split one all on qualifying results. It will be an extremely interesting head to head in 2018. How will the young French 2016 GP2 Champion match up against the two time World Endurance Champion Kiwi. For both drivers there is potentially a Red Bull Racing seat available in 2019 – the head to head should be intriguing.
RED BULL RACING
WINNER: Max Verstappen, 4-2
Not by accident we’ve left probably the most exciting 2017 H2H battle (on paper at least) till last.
Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen appear to get on relatively well together off track but on track and head to head it’s obviously each man for himself.
Ultimately Max beat Daniel 4:2 in our factors though it was perhaps closer than the raw result shows. What didn’t help either driver in 2017 was consistency.
Verstappen failed to finish in seven races and Ricciardo six. The Australian’s 32 point advantage in the Championship is significant but so too is Verstappen’s 13:7 qualifying win. Swings and roundabouts from two hungry would-be title contenders.
The 2017 head to head win undoubtedly goes to the Dutch driver. What is perhaps more interesting is how the two will compare in 2018 with the H2H winner potentially in a position to name his seat in the strongest team for 2019. Let’s hope Renault can bring a strong package next year and that these two potential World Champions challenge their Mercedes and Ferrari counterparts for the top podium steps.