The rivalry between the young Max Verstappen and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is probably one of the most exciting title fights in recent Formula 1 history.
1. Max Verstappen vs. Lewis Hamilton
Reigning world champion Hamilton feels the hot breath of Max Verstappen. Almost every race is neck-and-neck and the difference in points in the standings has been small all year.
For the time being, Verstappen has not succeeded in knocking Hamilton off the throne, but this season there is a real chance that he will succeed for the first time. Emotions between the two drivers sometimes run high and it looks like this championship battle will go down in the annals as one of the most memorable.
2. Lewis Hamilton vs. Nico Rosberg
Before Verstappen appeared in Hamilton’s mirrors, the Briton had an intense rivalry with his good friend from younger years Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton-Rosberg seemed like a perfect couple when Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes team in 2013. His buddy Rosberg had been riding for the team since 2010. Things quickly changed, however, when the following year the V8s were swapped out for V6 hybrids and the championship became a personal battle between the two Mercedes drivers.
The battle for the title in 2014 was won by Hamilton. That put a damper on Rosberg, but the relationship really cooled down when Hamilton suffered damage in the Belgian GP and held Rosberg responsible. Hamilton was also the fastest in 2015, but the following year Rosberg managed to recover and crowned himself world champion after a bitter battle. Then he suddenly announced the end of his career. The rivalry between the two lives on as they both own an Extreme E team.
3. Mark Webber vs. Sebastian Vettel
Another rivalry is between Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. Although Webber appeared to have the best chance of winning the championship in 2010, it was Vettel who narrowly took the win by just four points. Webber clearly had a hard time taking it. What started as a good friendship quickly grew into animosity.
Vettel won the world title four times in a row between 2010 and 2013, following in the footsteps of Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher. Lewis Hamilton equaled this performance last year and it is up to Verstappen to put a stop to this. In the end, Webber never managed to win the world championship.
4. Ayrton Senna vs. Alain Prost
Senna came to the McLaren team in 1988 as a great promise. Initially, the mutual relations with the already two-time world champion Alain Prost seemed to be good. The all-powerful team won 15 of the 16 races that year and Senna captured his first world title.
In 1989 it goes wrong. Disagreements over a gentlemen’s agreement in Imola are the seed and then things go from bad to worse. In the final race of the world title race, the two collide, Prost retires and Senna is disqualified. The Frenchman is world champion but vows never to ride with Senna as a teammate again.
Senna takes revenge in 1990 on Prost who left for Ferrari. A similar scenario unfolds in Japan and the two go hard in the first corner, whether or not through Senna’s fault, and now the Brazilian is world champion. In 1993, after a sabbatical, Prost returned to Williams. Most important contract condition: he doesn’t want Senna as a teammate. In that year, The Professor farewell with his fourth and final title.
5. James Hunt vs. Niki Lauda
We end with a filmed rivalry in Formula 1 history, the one between Niki Lauda and James Hunt. This championship fight appeared with rush (2013) even on the silver screen.
The story of the 1976 title race is therefore one that can be called film worthy. After Lauda’s serious accident at the Nürburgring, which left him with life-threatening burns and badly damaged lungs, the Austrian managed to climb back into his Ferrari after 6 weeks.
However, in the final race of the season, Lauda withdrew due to safety concerns due to the bad weather that day. Hunt just managed to get enough points after a final sprint in the last two laps. He won the championship by just one point ahead of Lauda.