Lewis Hamilton faced one main rival on his way to winning the 2014 F1 crown in Abu Dhabi: Nico Rosberg, his articulate and confident German team mate. Early in the year, the man on the other side of the garage was carrying the psychological edge but by Spa, roles had well and truly reversed.
On his way to winning a second Formula 1 World Championship, Hamilton was forced to watch as Rosberg charged to more pole positions and front rows than the Briton’s engine could possibly manage. The saying “Sunday is what counts” certainly rang true this season for the champion made his mark in history at Yas Marina.
Throughout the course of their careers, F1 drivers are continually compared to their team mates and rightly so. Much has been said of Hamilton’s win over Rosberg and tedious conspiracy theories have turned this matter into a social media debacle. One question is answered less frequently: How has Hamilton stacked up alongside each of his team mates?
Upon making his debut in 2007, Hamilton put all criticisms to bed to yield equal points to his team mate Fernando Alonso. Indeed the two-time champion – then defending his crown – finished third in the championship on count back. Of course, Alonso later left McLaren amidst a haze of controversy and returned to Renault for three more seasons.
As such, Heikki Kovalainen was in the fray to replace the experienced racer. Hamilton proved to be a handful for the Finn, storming to 98 points in 2008 over his team mate’s 53. Kovalainen – also in his second year of F1 competition – secured one win at Hungary that year. Meanwhile, his British team mate took five race wins on his way to becoming champion.
When the title holder set of to defend his honour in 2009, Kovalainen was once again called up to partner him. It was a similar tale to the year before with the Finn discreetly dismissed after his 22 points – compared to that of Hamilton’s 49 – was not enough to end McLaren’s constructors’ championship drought.
Instead, reigning champion Jenson Button was drafted in to join the British racer following his successful 2009 campaign for Brawn. In 2010, Hamilton narrowly beat out his opponent trumping him 240 to 214. It was not a decisive year for either driver but Button’s two wins were surpassed by Hamilton’s three, meaning the Briton retained his record.
By 2011, it was a different story. For the first and only time in his career, Hamilton was beaten by his team mate ending an impressive streak. The defeat at the hands of a returning Button was done with authority: Hamilton’s 227 points were some 43 points behind his team mate. Button would finish an impressive second in the championship – hot on the coat tails of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel – while Hamilton would podium six times that season for fifth.
Hamilton’s last season at McLaren beckoned in 2012 and his pattern of out-scoring team mates returned. Button’s 188 was not enough to stop the back-on-form Hamilton from scoring 190. The margin was close and indicative of that season. The two exchanged blows on track but would ultimately bow to the superiority of Vettel once more.
Meanwhile, after his move to Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton faced Rosberg, an old karting friend and rival. Just 18 points would separate them as Red Bull’s dominance came to an abrupt end.
The story of the 2014 season is, by now, quite familiar. Hamilton would lead a Mercedes 1-2 by outscoring Rosberg 384 to 317 – double points increased the tally relative to previous years but did not alter their positions. In 2015, the defending champion faces a similar challenge alongside Rosberg when he hopes to become Britain’s first champion to win successive titles back-to-back.
The table below outlines the point scoring difference between Hamilton and his team mates. They are listed in chronological order, starting with his first season in 2007. The current points system, which was introduced at the start of the 2010 season, is responsible for the notable growth in points. As mentioned above, Hamilton was outscored by his team mate in 2011 so this mark is indicated with the symbol: *.
|Year||Team Mate||Hamilton’s Score||Team Mate’s Score||Points Margin|
|2007||Fernando Alonso||109||109||0 (count back)|