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Start Russian GP
Formula 1 2021

The F1 drivers dominating their teammates in 2021

Since it's the halfway point of the 2021 F1 season, it's a good time to look at who is having a strong year and who has work to do in the coming events.

To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

The number one rule in any form of motorsport is to beat your teammate. They are arguably your biggest rival given that you have the same equipment and the same opportunity, so it all comes down to who can perform and deliver when the pressure is on.

So far in 2021, there have been some relatively big differences between teammates across the field. Let's take a look at who has come out on top after 11 events in qualifying and the race.*

*The qualifying and race comparisons are made from when both drivers have competed together or finished

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton vs Valtteri Bottas

Qualifying: 8 - 3

Qualifying average difference: 0.197 seconds in Hamilton's favour

Race: 6 - 2

Championship position: 1st - 4th

Points: 195 - 108

Lewis Hamilton has had the upper hand on Valtteri Bottas all year. Although Bottas managed to beat Hamilton to pole position at the Portuguese Grand Prix, he has failed to win a race in the first half of the season for the first time since 2018.

The difference is perhaps not as big as you would expect, but Hamilton is clearly stronger on Sundays with superior race pace and tyre management.

Red Bull: Max Verstappen vs Sergio Perez

Qualifying: 10 - 1

Qualifying average difference: 0.452 seconds in Verstappen's favour

Race: 8 - 1

Championship position: 2nd - 5th

Points: 187 - 104

Max Verstappen has been in immense form all season and has been very unlucky to not be leading the Drivers' Championship. Unsurprisingly, he has dominated against Sergio Perez who must be wary of falling into the same trap as his predecessors Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly.

Perez started his Red Bull campaign in impressive fashion, outqualifying Verstappen in Imola, but has been off the pace in recent rounds.

Ferrari: Charles Leclerc vs Carlos Sainz

Qualifying: 8 - 3

Qualifying average difference: 0.100 seconds in Leclerc's favour

Race: 6 - 3

Championship position: 7th - 6th

Points: 83 - 80

Charles Leclerc has just had the edge over Carlos Sainz, but there is very little to separate the pair. Team Principal Mattia Binotto claims Ferrari have the best driver line-up on the grid, and you can't blame him for saying so.

Sainz has settled in very well at Ferrari and has pushed Leclerc hard, capitalising on any off days from the Monegasque driver.

Leclerc has had two pole positions, although Sainz has had two podiums to Leclerc's one.

McLaren: Lando Norris vs Daniel Ricciardo

Qualifying: 8 - 3

Qualifying average difference: 0.331 seconds in Norris' favour

Race: 9 - 1

Championship position: 3rd - 9th

Points: 113 - 50

One-third of a second is a handy margin to have on your teammate, but an average buffer of 0.331 seconds over Daniel Ricciardo is a mighty effort.

That's exactly what Lando Norris has managed to do and he's backed it up with a similar advantage in race trim too. The British driver has been in phenomenal form and there are no signs he's going to slow down.

Ricciardo on the other hand has been the biggest disappointment of 2021 so far and must be worried about his lack of pace.

Alpine: Fernando Alonso vs Esteban Ocon

Qualifying: 6 - 5

Qualifying average difference: 0.036 seconds in Alonso's favour

Race: 3 - 5

Championship position: 11th - 10th

Points: 39 - 38

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon have been the closest driver pairing on average so far this year. Ocon had an early advantage during the season, before a great run of form for Alonso brought him just ahead on qualifying pace.

There's not much to separate them in the races, either, with both drivers putting in some brilliant performances. Ocon may have had the win last time out at the Hungarian GP, but Alonso just gets the nod overall.

This will be a fascinating fight for the remainder of the season.

AlphaTauri: Pierre Gasly vs Yuki Tsunoda

Qualifying: 9 - 0

Qualifying average difference: 0.509 seconds in Gasly's favour

Race: 7 - 2

Championship position: 8th - 13th

Points: 50 - 18

The biggest difference in teammates on the grid in qualifying is at AlphaTauri, with Pierre Gasly averaging a huge half-a-second quicker than Yuki Tsunoda.

A series of mistakes from Tsunoda has clearly dented his confidence, whilst Gasly has continued to provide consistently strong pace to reach Q3 at most events.

Even if Tsunoda can show the glimpses of form he did in Bahrain, there is very little chance he will be able to turn his deficit around.

Aston Martin: Sebastian Vettel vs Lance Stroll

Qualifying: 6 - 4

Qualifying average difference: 0.059 seconds in Vettel's favour

Race: 3 - 5

Championship position: 12th - 14th

Points: 30 - 18

In a similar situation to the Alpine drivers, there is very little to separate Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll at Aston Martin. As Vettel took his time to get up to speed, Stroll capitalised, but the latter has been very quiet for the majority of the season.

It seems Vettel was finally getting into his stride before the summer break, so the gap between the Aston Martin pair could grow further.

Williams: George Russell vs Nicholas Latifi

Qualifying: 11 - 0

Qualifying average difference: 0.370 seconds in Russell's favour

Race: 7 - 2

Championship position: 16th - 15th

Points: 4 - 6

George Russell has comfortably beaten Nicholas Latifi over one lap to keep up his incredible streak of never being out-qualified by a teammate at Williams, which started at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.

Some of Russell's qualifying laps have been tremendous, although Latifi has been a lot closer in the races. In fact, Latifi has scored more points than Russell after both drivers finished inside the top eight in Budapest, with the Canadian getting the better of his British teammate.

Nevertheless, Russell has clearly been the stronger driver in all departments.

Alfa Romeo: Antonio Giovinazzi vs Kimi Raikkonen

Qualifying: 8 - 2

Qualifying average difference: 0.322 seconds in Giovinazzi's favour

Race: 6 - 4

Championship position: 18th - 17th

Points: 1 - 2

Kimi Raikkonen has not been a strong qualifier for a long time in F1 and that hasn't changed this year. But, he has made up for it on Sundays, when the points are given out, often having slightly better pace than Giovinazzi.

Poor strategy has let Alfa Romeo down at important moments this year, so Raikkonen could easily have scored more top 10 results. Overall, the pair are arguably a match for each other, with different strengths and weaknesses.

Haas: Mick Schumacher vs Nikita Mazepin

Qualifying: 9 - 0

Qualifying average difference: 0.464 seconds in Schumacher's favour

Race: 7 - 2

Championship position: 19th - 20th

Points: 0 - 0

Mick Schumacher has been dominant against Nikita Mazepin in the battle of the rookies. The German has settled into F1 much more easily than Mazepin, taking the chequered flag nearly a minute ahead of his teammate at certain races.

Of course, it's very difficult to judge the Haas inter-team battle due to the unpredictability of their car and because both drivers have had to deal with blue flags, which can cause you to lose seconds in just one lap.

In our latest video, RacingNews365.com takes a look at the most important changes over the years regarding the safety of F1 cars.

1 comment

    Breaking Are current F1 drivers taking more risks than in previous eras?