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Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton's teammates ranked - from worst to best

Lewis Hamilton has been in F1 for just under 14 years. During that time, the British driver has been paired with several teammates, each with differing levels of ability and consistency. But who gave the seven-time world champion the most trouble during their time racing together?

Article
To news overview © McLaren

Lewis Hamilton has been remarkably successful during his time in Formula 1. Beginning back in 2007, right up until the present day, he is the only driver on the grid to have won a race in every single season he has participated in.

However, while the wins have been pretty consistent throughout the years, one changeable factor during this time has been teammates - of which Lewis has had many. Beginning with Fernando Alonso, and quite possibly ending with Valtteri Bottas, each has offered Hamilton a different type of challenge to overcome.

But where does teammate each rank in terms of ability, and the trouble they caused the seven-time champion?

Heikki Kovalainen (2008-2009)

The Finnish driver replaced Fernando Alonso at McLaren after the Spaniard's notorious falling out with the team. It quickly became apparent that, unlike his predecessor, Kovalainen was no match for Lewis over the course of a season. The pair would drive alongside each other in 2008 and 2009 - two seasons that were very contrasting in fortune for the McLaren team.

Hamilton sealed his first drivers' championship in 2008, where he would win five races to Heikki's one. That season, Kovalainen finished below both BMW drivers, as well as Renault's Fernando Alonso in the standings - despite having a far superior car.

However, the gap between the teammates was most notable in 2009, where Lewis would drag McLaren's woeful MP4-24 to a pair of race wins, while his teammate didn't even manage to get onto the podium.

Valtteri Bottas (2017-present)

Finnish drivers have tended to struggle when paired alongside Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas has become the target of ridicule since joining Mercedes in 2017 for being the ultimate number two driver, but is that really a fair assessment? In terms of pure one-lap speed, the answer is no.

The Brit has generally gotten the better of Bottas in qualifying over the course of their time together, but in 2019 they did actually achieve the same amount of pole positions. Even in 2020, where Hamilton would end up with 10 poles to Bottas' five, the margin was frequently very, very narrow. At Mugello and Portimao, the 36-year-old edged out Bottas by less than a tenth, emphasizing his competitiveness over one lap at the very least.

Race results don't reflect as kindly on the former Williams man, however. Bottas has won just nine races in four Mercedes seasons, despite statistically having the best car on grid for the duration. Last year (2020) was his worst yet in terms of challenging his teammate, as he took just two wins to Hamilton's 11.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Jenson Button (2010-2012)

This may be viewed as a slightly controversial selection, as the 2009 world champion was extremely competitive alongside Lewis throughout their time together. In fact, Button actually finished above his British rival in the 2011 drivers standings, winning three races to Hamilton's two - including a legendary drive from last to first at that year's Canadian Grand Prix.

For the following season, there was little to separate the two drivers in the standings once again - but that doesn't tell the whole story. There is a case to be made that McLaren had the fastest car in 2012, but in typical McLaren style, reliability hindered their progress. Hamilton bowed out of five races that season due to a combination of mechanical issues and crashes, yet he still managed to win one more race than Button.

There was little to separate the pair on race day, but the fact that Button only grabbed one pole position during their three-year stint as teammates - while Hamilton achieved seven - means that he can't realistically be placed any higher.

Nico Rosberg (2013-2016)

Nico Rosberg has a very special place on this list. Simply put, he is the only man to have taken a world championship away from Hamilton in equal machinery. The Brit first became Rosberg's teammate in 2013, after his high-profile move from McLaren to Mercedes - which took the entire paddock by surprise at the time.

The 2013 season was to be their first as Mercedes teammates, and while Lewis did finish higher in the driver's standings, it was the German who won two races to Hamilton's one. Nevertheless, after a year of bedding into a new team, it was the seven-time world champion who started the hybrid era in style, capturing titles number two and three as the Mercedes team dominated.

In 2014 Rosberg was very competitive, managing to go into the final race of the season with a chance of winning the title, thanks to consistency and five race wins. He fell just short on that occasion, and was beaten easily in 2015 - but 2016 would be another story entirely.

Rosberg was exceptional, winning the first four races of the season, and capitalising on any mechanical issues Hamilton had to seal his first and only drivers world title. It was a masterful achievement by Rosberg, who kept his cool under extreme pressure.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Fernando Alonso (2007)

Lewis' first teammate was arguably the most formidable he would ever have to face - not that you'd have known it by his fearless driving style. Despite this being the British driver's debut F1 season, he more than held his own at McLaren alongside the reigning world champion.

In what was their only year together, the pair would finish on the same amount of points, with the same amount of race wins. However, Hamilton dominated the qualifying battle, taking six pole positions to Alonso's two.

While Lewis narrowly missed out on winning the drivers' world championship that season, the fact that he often outperformed a two-time champion - in what was his debut season in the sport - remains one of his most impressive achievements to date.

			© McLaren
	© McLaren

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