Friday, October 29, 2010

Hamilton versus ...

A rookie in 2007 teamed up with Fernando Alonso, two-time WDC winner, Lewis Hamilton burst onto the scene and registered a VERY strong opening season with McLaren in his first year in the prestigious motorsport world of Formula 1.

Hamilton has had three different team-mates within his relatively short Formula 1 career and he has consistently out-performed all of them, starting with his ‘more-experienced’ team mate in his rookie year (they both scored 109 points but Hamilton had more 2nd place wins).

Some would say the changes in team-mate is due to team dynamics (or lack of), others would argue that Hamilton always outshines his team-mates in essentially the same car and perhaps causes the team to reconsider his team-mate’s relative performance and ultimately, contract.

Here we take a look at Hamilton’s performance against his team-mate from 2007 to date and ponder what will become of the debut year of his partnership with Button (the reigning WDC).

(Graph shows difference in each parameter. Hamilton on right side of axis; FA = Fernando Alonso, HK = Heikki Kovalainen, JB = Jenson Button)

2010 Season so far...
is currently 21 points ahead of his current team-mate Jenson Button, but apart from the point difference, Hamilton and Button are on fairly equal footing in terms of other measures of success i.e. race wins, 2nd places, pole positions. So the most telling and most relevant criteria to pay attention to is the point-difference; they drive essentially the same car and it is well publicised that Button has a different driving style to Hamilton and occasionally opts for a different set-up from his team-mate to complement his driving style.

Therefore it is fair to say Button's driving style and set-ups haven't been as successful as Hamilton's and from this, one could surmise that Hamilton will out-perform his team-mate again this year.

Perhaps if harmonious team-dynamics were not so important, his most prefered team-mate (a driver who challenges him and gets the best out of him), is the man generally regarded as Hamilton's greatest rival, and is the current Championship leader, Fernando Alonso.

In a recent promotional event, when asked who he enjoyed racing the most, Hamilton admitted "Probably Fernando. Just because of our history – two time World Champion, I raced him when I was rookie, it was great racing him – he’s one the toughest I’ve competed against. I’ve not had the chance to have too many battles with him this year. I really wanted to have a dice with Michael, and with Jenson, I’ve been dying to have a proper battle with him, but it always works out that one weekend he’s up on me and the next I’m up on him – we’re rarely at the same position!" Courtesy of