In F1, the first driver that you have to beat is your teammate. He is in the same machinery as you are and hence the perfect barometer to match up against. Many teams often try to field two drivers that are on similar levels of performance to help extract the maximum possible from the package.
While there are chances it could lead to friction in case the two drivers aren't willing to work together, it could also lead to the two pushing the team forward. Having two competitive teammates is one of the most enticing battles in F1 and in this feature, we predict who will win the intra-team battles on the 2023 grid.
2023 F1 season: Teammate rivalry predictions!
Max Verstappen vs Sergio Perez
It's hard to look beyond Max Verstappen in this scenario. The Dutch driver is clearly the best driver on the grid. While Sergio Perez has shown impressive pace in pockets, he just can't compete with Verstappen in the same car.
Winner: Max Verstappen
Charles Leclerc vs Carlos Sainz
This one is not a difficult pick. Contrary to many F1 pundits hyping up the Spaniard Carlos Sainz, the last two seasons have shown that Charles Leclerc is a step ahead in terms of performance. This season as well, Leclerc is the favorite unless we see a seismic shift in Ferrari.
Winner: Charles Leclerc
Lewis Hamilton vs George Russell
In Mercedes' case, it's a tough one. George Russell did beat Lewis Hamilton last season but it was very close between the two. It ultimately comes down to a battle between experience and youth.
Having said that, if Russell could beat Hamilton in his very first opportunity of running at the front, he can do it again with more experience under his belt. Hence, if we have to make a pick, we're predicting George Russell to beat Lewis Hamilton.
Winner: George Russell
Pierre Gasly vs Esteban Ocon
Arguably one of the most combustible partnerships on the F1 grid at the moment, Esteban Ocon vs Pierre Gasly could be interesting. Both have a similar record in F1 and are race winners as well. Having said that, it's hard to ignore what Ocon achieved last season. He might not have outright outperformed Fernando Alonso, but he kept the veteran in check for the most part. In contrast, Gasly was probably not as impressive.
This battle will go down to the wire and we're banking on Ocon's prior experience in Alpine to help him come out on top.
Winner: Esteban Ocon
Lando Norris vs Oscar Piastri
For McLaren, it would be a shocker if Oscar Piastri beats Lando Norris in his rookie season. If he does, we're looking at a driver who might be the next Max Verstappen. Having said that, even though Piastri is a brilliant talent, it's hard to look beyond Norris in 2023.
Winner: Lando Norris
Valtteri Bottas vs Guanyu Zhou
Valtteri Bottas has the experience to lend a level of consistency to his drives. It is this consistency that helps him keep the younger upcoming talent at bay. Zhou did show glimpses of his talent last season, but if we're fair, there's a lot more that needs to be done. We're picking Bottas to keep the status quo going for the team.
Winner: Valtteri Bottas
Fernando Alonso vs Lance Stroll
Not much of a debate here. Lance Stroll was given a shellacking of sorts by his former teammate Sebastian Vettel. Expect more or less the same as Fernando Alonso might be an even tougher cookie to crack for the young Canadian.
Winner: Fernando Alonso
Nico Hulkenberg vs Kevin Magnussen
This one will have a lot of people divided and it is a bit surprising to see F1 fans picking Kevin Magnussen over Nico Hulkenberg. If the German is in the kind of form that he displayed when he was racing full-time in 2019, then he beats Magnussen. Looking at his one-off races during the pandemic, it's safe to say that he's not lost his touch and will be our pick to beat the Dane.
If an outright direct comparison could be made between the two then it would have to be during their time at Renault as both had Jolyon Palmer as a teammate. While Magnussen did beat Palmer over the course of the season, Hulkenberg dominated him to such an extent that he could not even last the season.
Winner: Nico Hulkenberg
Yuki Tsunoda vs Nyck de Vries
While there appears to be a lot of hype around Nyck de Vries, his results are probably flattered by the circumstances. He won the F2 championship against Nicholas Latifi, his Formula E title defense saw him finish 10th, and the race where he scored a point also had Latifi in the other car.
Yuki Tsunoda, on the other hand, has started to put those pieces together in his first two years with the team, even with Pierre Gasly as the barometer. If we have to make a pick, we're picking a known entity in Tsunoda over newcomer De Vries.
Winner: Yuki Tsunoda
Alex Albon vs Logan Sargeant
Logan Sargeant could prove to be an impressive talent in F1. What needs to be seen is whether he will have the much-needed consistency to back up the peaks in his performance. Unlike Nicholas Latifi, Sargeant should be an upgrade. Will he be an upgrade big enough to beat Alex Albon? Not in his rookie year!