Lewis Hamilton Reveals Why Inter-Team F1 Rivalries Are More Exciting

Published 07/15/2021, 2:42 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 27, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas after finishing second and third respectively REUTERS/Darko Vojinovic


Over the years, Lewis Hamilton has always found himself in duels against his very own teammate rather than a driver from a different outfit. It all started with Fernando Alonso at McLaren, followed by the infamous Nico Rosberg rivalry at Mercedes.

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Of course, Hamilton held the upper hand against both the rivals. However, despite possessing such an impressive record in teammate battles, the seven-time world champion isn’t a fan of intra-team rivalries.

What did Lewis Hamilton say?

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Speaking to F1, Hamilton reckoned that team championships have always been the priority, and teammate battles for the drivers’ championships are a mere distraction.

This sport is different to other sports. If you look at Football, everyone’s working towards the same goal. This sport is kind of confused,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Because you have two championships. You have a team championship for which two drivers are hired to score points for the team to win the championship. That’s the priority. Then, individually, you have the two drivers that selfishly want to win the championship.

Rosberg and Hamilton managed to show the ugly side of teammate rivalry, as the duo caused several collisions on the track trying to defeat each other. If not for the dominant Mercedes cars, there is no denying that the two drivers would have cost Mercedes the constructors’ title.

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More exciting when the battle is team against team: Hamilton

Hamilton opined that team rivalries like the ongoing Mercedes – Red Bull Racing, are much better than teammate rivalries.

So, you got this battle of tension. And yeah, when you’re working against a guy opposite you, it’s much different to working with that person and fighting the other team,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain –  Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after qualifying in pole position with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas who finished in third position REUTERS/Emilio Morenatti

I feel that makes better racing, that makes the championship more exciting when it’s team against team rather than internal.”

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Of course, teammate threat hasn’t been a concern for Hamilton since Rosberg’s retirement. The German’s successor, Valtteri Bottas, hardly troubled Hamilton and has rather preferred to be the team player during crucial moments.

And Mercedes need the Finn’s services more than ever this season, with Red Bull looking to take both the championship titles away from the Brackley outfit. So, can Hamilton and Bottas, together fend off Verstappen and Co?

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Rohit Kumar

948 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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