There’s rivalry outside a team – and Formula One had many of those. Then there’s intra-team rivalry, which can be good for competition – but taken too far can result in serious fractures within the team, sometimes irreparable.Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s rivalry is now in the spotlight after the formerly close friends are reported to be at loggerheads and struggling to get along, each feeling that the other is favoured by team Mercedes.But for now, we delve into the past of Formula One and look into some of its most iconic rivalries.
#5 Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet- Williams
The Piquet vs Mansell rivalry was a classic case of an experienced driver meeting his match in the form of a younger competitor who threatened his number 1 status in the team. And the elder racer, Piquet, even went as far as insulting Mansell and his wife.
Initially Mansell simply let his driving do the talking, but that didn't last as Piquet pushed his mental barriers beyond the limit. Their bitter war in 1986 eventually cost them a chance at the title, with Prost quietly plucking it from under their very noses.
Ultimately the moral of the story is: Battle your teammate by all means, but just remember you are not the only ones on the track or in contention for the title. Case in point: the 2007 F1 drivers championship went to Kimi Raikkonen, after slip-ups from Alonso and Hamilton.
#4 Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso- McLaren
The 2007 Formula One season saw Fernando Alonso move to the McLaren team, and partnering him was the fresh-faced newcomer Lewis Hamilton.
Straight off the bat, the pair engaged in a fierce battle for the title, both looking for a first two-time World Champion Alonso for his first title with McLaren, and Hamilton looking to rewrite history by being the first rookie driver to win the title.
Unfortunately, they saw each other as obstacles in the way and then the real battle was on. Things turned ugly at the Hungarian Grand Prix that year when Alonso allegedly impeded Hamilton long enough for the Briton to fail to set a qualifying lap. The Hungaroring is one racetrack where qualifying is absolutely crucial so as one can imagine Hamilton was liv when he lost outto Alonso for pole position.
Although Hamilton publicly declared his admiration for Renault champion Alonso ahead of joining the team, McLaren boss Ron Dennis has gone on record to say Hamilton threw the first blow in the pairs contentious relationship.
The bitterness led Alonso to leave his contract 3 years early to rejoin Renault in 2008 and was replaced by Finnish Heikki Kovalainen alongside Hamilton.
#3 Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber-Red Bull
This was one intra-team rivalry that caused mayhem within the team and also hammered a wedge between the Australian and the German.
As is the case with a first time pairing of teammates, everything goes smoothly until the first slip up. The trigger behind this seems to have been the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix, when the pair of them collided with each other, ending Vettels race and compromising Webbers.
From there, the tensions within the team built up to a crescendo and then truly exploded culminating in the infamous 2013 Multi-21 incident at that years Malaysian Grand Prix.
2nd placedVettel disobeyed a team order to hold station and took the win, thus robbing Mark off a well-deserved victory. That was the final straw for the Australian and their partnership was officially in tatters. It was one of the most iconic podium contentions in recent Formula One with the Mercedes team also having a similar case on their hands, when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were running 2ndand 3rd.
Rosberg, however, obeyed team instructions unlike the pair ahead of the Mercedes.
#2 Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi-Ferrari
Villeneuve and Pironi raced together since 1981.
When Pironi joined the Maranello-based Ferrari for the first time, Villeneuve saw him as an equal. But that soon changed in 1982 at the San Marino Grand Prix. Ferrari had issue an order to slow down, which was open to interpretation.
The Canadian was under the impression that it meant that they had to maintain position. Pironi, on the other hand, believed that the team simply wanted them to slow down but there was no mention of maintaining position.
After passing his teammate, Villeneuve passed him back thinking that they had to put on a good show for the fans. But Pironi passed him for good this time and won the race in front of an infuriated Gilles who felt cheated out of a win that was rightfully his.
Since then, the pair remained bitter rivals until Villeneuves death in May 1982 during the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder.
Sadly, they had been close friends before the Imola incident.
Pironi himself passed away in a boating accident in 1987, with his girlfriend giving birth to the pairs twin sons after his death. The twins were named Gilles and Didier in honour of the two drivers.
#1 Ayrton Senna vs Alain Prost- McLaren
Highly regarded as Formula Ones definitive intra-team rivalry, the tense relationship surfaced when Senna was drafted into the Woking squad with the approval of Alain Prost the teams number 1 driver.
Later, as time took its own sweet meandering course, Prost would regret this decision as the young upstart Brazilian began to pose a threat to his championship hopes.
The good news was that the first year of their partnership bore fruit when McLaren won 15 of the 16 races that year. The bad news, however, was that what happened the following years was just history. They soon became the bitterest of rivals.
Everything came to a head on that controversial race in Suzuka in 1989, when Senna won his maiden title after punting the Frenchman and himself out of the race. The very next year at the same track it was a case of dejavu but this time the result went in the other direction. Even after Prost left to join Ferrari, their rivalry did not let up.
Their friendship had a happy ending, however. Prost retired at the end of 1993, and Senna repeatedly spoke of missing prost. A few days before the fateful 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Senna spoke to Prost, who had by then become an F1 pundit, saying "A special hello to my,... to our dear friend Alain. We all miss you Alain." The comment brought the Frenchman to tears immediately.
The saddest proof of how close Prost and Senna had been, however, came at Sennas 1994 death at Imola; Prost was one of the Brazilians pallbearers, and only spoke about him publicly 4 years later, when he admitted how mcuh Senna had really meant to him.