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The F1 teammate rivalries to watch in 2023

With a mixture of old and new driver lineups on the F1 grid in 2023, there could be some interesting intra-team rivalries unfolding in the season ahead...

The 2023 F1 season is nearly upon us, with 20 drivers across 10 teams set to compete in 23 races across the globe. Some of those drivers have found themselves in new destinations for the year ahead, with the likes of Pierre Gasly making a switch, while a few outfits – including the top three of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes – have opted to retain their previous line-ups. A few interesting teammate moments emerged in 2022, from Max Verstappen's refusal to follow a Red Bull team order to help Sergio Perez in Brazil, to Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon's on and off track spats at Alpine. Might we see a repeat of such tensions in 2023? Here are some of the intra-team driver rivalries that could prove especially interesting in the year ahead....

Red Bull: Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez

Since joining the team in 2021, Sergio Perez has shared a mostly amiable relationship with Max Verstappen. But this seemed to hit a snag when Verstappen opted not to let Perez by on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the 2022 season. Verstappen stated over the team radio: "I gave my reasons and I stand by it". Perez, meanwhile, retorted: "It shows who he really is." Despite this awkward moment, the drivers later stated that they had discussed the matter privately and that their relationship remained intact, something that team boss Christian Horner has reiterated . However, questions may remain over whether the incident could impact the drivers' willingness to help each other in the future. It will certainly be interesting to watch in 2023....

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Unlike Red Bull, Mercedes did not have a car capable of challenging for the World Championship in 2022. This resulted in less focus on any potential rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in their first season as teammates at the Silver Arrows. As such, Russell has acknowledged that the dynamic may have been different if the W13 had been a more competitive challenger, which begs the question – if the team make progress in 2023, could there be trouble ahead for the drivers? While the signs did not look overly positive for Mercedes during pre-season testing – with Hamilton admitting that the squad had had some "difficult days" – their form will not truly become clear until the campaign kicks off in Bahrain on 3-5 March.

Alpine: Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly

Perhaps the most obvious potential teammate rivalry of note in 2023 is that of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly at Alpine. Much has already been said of the past tensions between the two drivers, stemming from their younger days as rivals in karting. So much so that Gasly suggested the topic had been talked about "way too much" . However, this does not seem to have prevented further speculation over how the relationship might unfold in the year ahead. Ocon is no stranger to sparring with his teammate on track – and off, given his criticism of Fernando Alonso in the aftermath of the Spaniard leaving the team. Could history repeat itself with Gasly?

McLaren: Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri

Lando Norris is known for sharing good relationships with his teammates – his 'bromance' with Carlos Sainz still lives on, much to the delight of fans looking for 'Carlando' content. The Briton similarly became friends with Daniel Ricciardo – despite feeling that this did not always come across on the outside – and so far has spoken of getting on well with new McLaren driver Oscar Piastri. Perhaps the difference in his latest dynamic, though, is that Norris is now very much the established team leader. With both Sainz and Ricciardo, he was initially seen as the underdog; now, having outperformed Ricciardo, the 23-year-old is the Woking squad's leading man. With McLaren CEO Zak Brown tipping Piastri to eventually reach a point of challenging Norris , might this have ructions for the off-track relationship between the drivers? Factor in the team's pessimism about their new car and it could get interesting...

Ferrari: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz

Speaking of friendly intra-team relationships, relations have remained intact between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz during their two years together at Ferrari so far. But one possible spanner in the works for 2023 could come in the form of new team boss Frederic Vasseur's insistence that the squad will not favour one driver over another at the start of the season. Leclerc has given his backing to the move , but admitted that – should either himself or Sainz find themselves fighting for the championship as the year progresses– he would expect the Scuderia to "do everything possible" to support that driver. This is of course a common scenario for an outfit bidding for the title. But, much like Mercedes, it is interesting to consider how the teammate relationship can change when the stakes for the team suddenly become higher. Will one of these teammate rivalries see sparks fly in 2023? Or could another line-up on the grid cause a surprise? Let us know in the poll and comments section below!

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