Who will win the battle of the team mates in 2012?

2012 F1 season preview

The first person every driver wants to beat is his team mate.

Five teams have kept the same line-up for 2012 – while the rest have tweaked their driver pairings.

Who will come out on top in each? Cast your vote on all 12 below and have your say in the comments.

For drivers who have been team mates at the same team before, you also compare their championship scores.

Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel vs Mark Webber

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2012

Webber needs to strike back in 2012

Vettel and Webber are the longest-running partnership in F1 today – this will be their fourth season as team mates.

It was nip-and-tuck between the pair of them in their first two seasons together. But last year Vettel dominated his team mate, emphatically winning his second world championship.

The pressure is on Webber to raise his game and get back on terms with Vettel in 2012. But can he do it?

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
2011 392 258
2010 256 242
2009 84 69.5

Which Red Bull driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Sebastian Vettel (89%)
  • Mark Webber (11%)

Total Voters: 701

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McLaren: Jenson Button vs Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, McLaren, Monza, 2011

Button turned the tables on Hamilton last year

It’s unusual to see two world champions sharing a team – so the pairing of Button and Hamilton gives McLaren the strongest driver line-up in F1.

Their two seasons together has shown up their contrasting strengths and weaknesses: Button kind to his tyres but weaker than his team mate in qualifying; Hamilton fast and combative but sometimes careless.

In terms of who’s finished ahead, they’re tied 1-1 as they embark on their third season together. Can Hamilton reassert himself in the team where he had never been beaten until Button came along?

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
2011 270 227
2010 214 240

Which McLaren driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Jenson Button (48%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (52%)

Total Voters: 702

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Ferrari: Fernando Alonso vs Felipe Massa

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2012

Number five is number one at Ferrari

To say things are a little one-sided at Ferrari would be quite an understatement.

Alonso has easily had the beating of Massa since they paired up two years ago. In that time the twice-champion out-qualified Massa 29-7.

There’s no escaping the fact that Alonso has enjoyed the preference of his team. Never more clearly than when they forced Massa to hand over victory in Germany two years ago.

But the vast majority of the time Alonso has exerted a crushing superiority. Massa faces an enormous challenge to reverse that in 2012.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa
2011 257 118
2010 252 144

Which Ferrari driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Fernando Alonso (96%)
  • Felipe Massa (4%)

Total Voters: 694

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Mercedes: Michael Schumacher vs Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

It was close between the Mercedes drivers in 2011

Schumacher spent his comeback season in the shadow of his younger team mate.

Last year Rosberg easily had the beating of his team mate on Saturday – out-qualifying him 15-2 – but in the races the pair were much more closely matched.

Will 2012 be the year the old master finally shows his young team mate how it’s done?

Michael Schumacher Nico Rosberg
2011 76 89
2010 72 142

Which Mercedes driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Michael Schumacher (36%)
  • Nico Rosberg (64%)

Total Voters: 692

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Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen vs Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Barcelona, 2012

Grosjean has a world champion for an F1 team mate - again

Lotus’s driver pairing both last started an F1 race in Abu Dhabi in 2009. But the similarities end there.

Raikkonen’s credentials are as good as anyone’s, but the 2007 world champion was not at the peak of his form when he slipped out of the sport two years ago. Will he, like Schumacher in 2010, take time to get back to his best in new surroundings?

Grosjean may not have capitalised on his fleeting F1 chance with this team in 2009 – but he made a strong case for a full-season drive by winning the GP2 championship comfortably. Can he give Raikkonen a surprise?

Which Lotus driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Kimi Raikkonen (91%)
  • Romain Grosjean (9%)

Total Voters: 687

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Force India: Paul di Resta vs Nico Hulkenberg

Paul di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Interlagos, 2011

Two of the top rookies of recent years team up at Force India

Force India have what is surely the most exciting driver line-up on the grid.

The VJM05 will be piloted by a pair of sophomore drivers who distinguished themselves with some excellent performance in their rookie campaigns.

Di Resta may have the advantage of having been racing last year, but Hulkenberg kept his eye in with several practice session appearances for Force India.

How this one unfolds could be the making – or breaking – of either driver.

Which Force India driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Paul di Resta (60%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (40%)

Total Voters: 678

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Sauber: Kamui Kobayashi vs Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Korea, 2011

Perez got on terms with Kobayashi in his first season

Sauber’s preference for young, upcoming drivers served them well in 2011.

With a year’s more experience better things are expected of Kobayashi and Perez, and the competition between the two should be closer than before.

Kamui Kobayashi Sergio Perez
2011 30 14*

*Missed two races due to injury.

Which Sauber driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Kamui Kobayashi (58%)
  • Sergio Perez (42%)

Total Voters: 674

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Toro Rosso: Daniel Ricciardo vs Jean-Eric Vergne

Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Ricciardo and Vergne were team mates in 2008 in Formula Renault 2.0

An all-new and highly inexperienced driver pairing at Toro Rosso as they play another round of ‘Red Bull Idol’.

The pair have come up through the ranks with Vergne a year behind Ricciardo, emulating his wins in British Formula Three and rookie season runner-up placing in Formula Renault 3.5.

Ricciardo has some useful extra experience at this level over his team mate, but even so both face a steep learning curve in their first full seasons.

Which Toro Rosso driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Daniel Ricciardo (74%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (26%)

Total Voters: 649

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Williams: Pastor Maldonado vs Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna, Williams, Barcelona, 2012

Senna is Maldonado's new team mate

Maldonado fared well alongside Barrichello in the uncompetitive FW33 last year, particularly in qualifying.

His new team mate Senna blew hot and cold in a brief stint at Renault.

Both have good reason to think they should be able to beat the other – but which one will?

Which Williams driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Pastor Maldonado (28%)
  • Bruno Senna (72%)

Total Voters: 669

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Caterham: Heikki Kovalainen vs Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, Barcelona, 2012

Petrov goes up against Kovalainen at Caterham

Petrov was an 11th-hour addition to Caterham’s ranks alongside Kovalainen.

Kovalainen has had two solid years with the team, generally proving quicker than former team mate Jarno Trulli.

With the team striving to break into the midfield in 2012, which of their drivers is best equipped to get them there?

Which Caterham driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Heikki Kovalainen (83%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (17%)

Total Voters: 674

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HRT: Narain Karthikeyan vs Pedro de la Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa, HRT, Barcelona, 2012

De la Rosa has sat in the F112 but is yet to drive it

HRT have gone for a decidedly mature driver line-up, pairing 35-year-old Karthikeyan with 41-year-old de la Rosa.

While former McLaren driver de la Rosa is undeniably more experienced, Karthikeyan had more seat time last year when he did half a season with the team.

That could stand him in good stead as the team feel their way with the new F112.

Which HRT driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Narain Karthikeyan (14%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (86%)

Total Voters: 661

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Marussia: Timo Glock vs Charles Pic

Charles Pic, GP2, 2011

Charles Pic is the lastest new face at Marussia

For the third year in a row Glock is sharing a team with a rookie driver.

Neither of Charles Pic’s predecessors – Lucas di Grassi and Jerome D’Ambrosio – are still racing in F1, which indicates the extent of the challenge he faces at Marussia.

Having had precious little pre-season running, Pic has a mountain to climb to get on terms with the experienced Glock.

Which Marussia driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Timo Glock (92%)
  • Charles Pic (8%)

Total Voters: 652

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Which drivers do you think will beat their team mates in 2012? Explain your choices in the comments.

2012 F1 season preview


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145 comments on Who will win the battle of the team mates in 2012?

  1. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 13th March 2012, 11:11

    Wow! 96% plays 4% at the time of my voting on the Alonso/Massa battle! I’m sure @steph is in that 4%. :)

  2. Vettel – it was interesting to see that Mark actually scored more points in 2011 than he did in 2010, but Vettel was just on another level. Gap will be closer but Vettel is the best driver in Formula One at the moment.
    Hamilton – This is based on Lewis saying he has sorted the problems from last year; I think he is just inherently faster than Button. Also if there are other teams closer (I know you can’t tell from testing but it does look closer than last year) to Red Bull and Mclaren I feel Jenson’s poorer qualifying could have a bigger effect than in 2011.
    Alonso – we all know Massa has no chance.
    Rosberg – Schumacher’s one lap pace is still holding him back so I think Rosberg will win overall due to his better consistency in qualifying putting him further up the grid. However I would not be surprised in the slightest that if Mercedes have a sniff of a win it will be Schumacher challenging for it (i.e. Canada last year)
    Raikkonen – Kimi is back, can’t see him being beaten by Grosjean even with two years out
    Hulkenberg – I don’t think either of these drivers are actually that good, will pick Hulkenberg as he will have a point to prove after a year out.
    Kobayashi – I was surprised Kobayashi was rated so low in the overall rankings by Keith at the end of last season, I thought he was stronger than Perez and think he will beat him again this season.
    Ricciardo – flip a coin to decide this. Ricciardo purely because he has raced last season.
    Senna – think Bruno will edge Maldonado.
    Kovalainen – Heikki has been outstanding the last two seasons, whether he looked better than he was because Trulli was terrible we shall now see. Petrov is an inconsistent driver who is new to the team so I think Heikki has the edge
    Karthikeyan – I’ll go for a wildcard and say Narain will beat Pedro.
    Glock – Timo should really win this easily.

  3. HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 13th March 2012, 11:53

    Vettel – Can’t see how Vettel could lose this battle.
    Button – He’s confident, does well on new tires, never make mistakes… Hamilton will probably improve from catastrophic last season, but that won’t be good enough to beat JB.
    Alonso – As obvious as RB’s case.
    Rosberg – Rosberg has given a beating to overrated grumpy Schumacher for 2 years in a row. And this’ll be 3rd year! Hoping Rosberg to finally win a race this season.
    Räikkönen – Grosjean will be able to see Räikkönen in his sight… if he’s having a good day.
    Di Resta – Hülkenberg will score Force India’s sporadic best result(s), but Di Resta will win the battle by constantly scoring points.
    Perez – Left a huge impression after his debut season. Kobayashi will get close, but I think Perez will win the battle this year.
    Ricciardo – He has more racing experience in F1.
    Senna – I think he will win it with quite a margin actually.
    Kovalainen – Petrov will challenge him more than Trulli ever did, but Kovalainen is already familiar with the team, and that gives him an upper hand.
    De la Rosa – Though I bet at some point of the season both De la Rosa and Karthikeyan will lose their driving seats to Liuzzi and Clos.
    Glock – Glock will be superior in this battle thanks to his experience.

  4. maxthecat said on 13th March 2012, 12:03

    I’ve noticed a distinct change in the ‘friendship’ between Lewis and Jenson, don’t know if anyone else has. Lewis is implying Jenson used a lot of mind games last year that put him of his game and Jenson is pretty dismissive of any question about Lewis. I predict fireworks between those too.

    • LosD (@losd) said on 13th March 2012, 12:11

      Where does he do that? I have only seen Hamilton praise Button for his approach (what Hammy has called Button’s “happy bubble”).

      • Tom Haxley (@welshtom) said on 13th March 2012, 14:42

        I’m a Hamilton fan and I was under this impression too. I was quite shocked (and pleased) that Lewis was able to say that in an interview. It showed that he respected Button and that he was jealous of the structure he had around him. Definate progress in the right direction to recreate that.

        He could have turned around and said, JB does it his way, I do it mine – in a true racer im always right fashion. But he didnt..

        • maxthecat said on 13th March 2012, 23:17

          I’ve seen a few interviews and Lewis said something along the lines of ‘there was a lot going on last year people don’t know about, psychological warfare you could say’ Not saying this was directed at Jenson but it’s the impression i got. Also Jens was asked about Lewis and if he had his support he needed this year to which Jenson replied with something like ‘I don’t know, it has no effect on me so i don’t really care’

          I can’t remember the exact words but the jist is the same and to me that’s a distinct difference to last year.

  5. adzz36 (@adzz36) said on 13th March 2012, 12:04

    Most of them pick themselves. The best battles will be at Mclaren and Force India and potentially Mercedes.

    I went for Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Di Resta, Perez, Senna, Ricciardo, Kovalainen, De la Rosa, Glock

  6. BluNt (@blunt) said on 13th March 2012, 12:10

    I personally feel that Vergne is a real exiting pospect and i do believe he will out shine Riccardio. Hopefully soon enough we will see him the possibly vacant red bull seat, and be measured against the best

    A interesting prospect lies ahead for the 2 new Torro Rosso driver. Beat your team mate and possibly move on to greater and grander things with the world champions, or lose and have to stay behind to likely be replaced shortly by another dewey-eyed driver that Helmut Marco has a man-chrush on.

  7. GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 13th March 2012, 12:10

    Voted for,
    Vettel – No-brainer
    Hamilton – Car performance is better than last year, so lesser chance for messing with Massa
    Alonso – No-brainer
    Rosberg – Same as last year
    Raikkonen – World champion versus Someone-who-won-Gp2
    Hulkenberg – DiResta makes too many half-hearted passes
    Perez – Running anonymous but in points
    Ricciardo -Prior experience in a F1 team
    Senna – Will edge Maldonado by the smallest of margins, 0.5 points. Now we have a rain-affected race that’s not going to 75% race distance
    Kovalainen – Well, he didn’t get replaced
    de la Rosa – Old WarHorse
    Glock – Well Pic wopn’t be in F1 next year no matter the result

  8. Schumi the Greatest (@schumi-the-greatest) said on 13th March 2012, 12:19

    Vettel: Webber will be closer than last year but Seb will have too much…if as predicted its closer at the front I’m looking forward to seeing how Vettel copes under a bit more pressure, remember Canada last year.
    Hamilton: I think he’s more determined than ever after last season being beaten by Button…just hope his head is clear
    Alonso: no brainer
    Schumacher: Improved last year and not much in it on race days, has momentum from last year
    Raikkonen: Cant see Grosjean matching Kimi and if Lotus just let him get on with the driving of the car he cpuld thrive
    Di Resta: Year out for Hulkenberg will hurt him, just think Di Resta will edge it.
    Kobayashi: Be clsoe…just think Kobayashi can make more happen if the car struggles
    Ricciardo: Experience from last year will help him
    Senna: Looked good at Spa, seems to have some pace…dont really rate Maldonado
    Kovalainen: Kovi is solid..slightly scarred his repuation next to Hamilton but he is a good driver
    De la Rosa: Karthikeyan is pants, lets be honest
    Glock: Glock was unlucky to end up at a backmarker, always did well at Toyota, cant see Pic getting close to him

  9. Silverkeg (@silverkeg) said on 13th March 2012, 12:22

    Vettel – No doubt Vettel will win this battle. Webber will hopefully be closer though.
    Hamilton – Completely 50/50 on this one. Just sided with Hamilton, think he will hit back strongly
    Alonso – Yeah
    Rosberg – 2011 wasn’t great in terms of results for him. The margin will remain very similiar.
    Raikkonen – He should have a handy margin over Grosjean, even with a few years out of the sport.
    Hulkenburg – I just feel Hulk has more to give than Di Resta. Will be great to watch this battle. Hulk will start behind but quickly tip the scales his way.
    Perez – Another battle I’m looking forward to. Perez looked faster at times last year. I feel he will soon surpass a stagnating Kobayashi and finish with more points.
    Ricciardo – Once again a battle I’m looking forward too. This vote is more what I want to happen as they are too close to split any other way.
    Maldonado – Have never rated Senna too highly. Maldonado is disliked, and I feel that leads to people underestimating his talent. While I certainly don’t think he is champion material, I feel he has it over Bruno.
    Kovalainen – Should be close. But Kova’s experience will help him keep ahead
    Karthikeyen- Neither will score points, so will most likely come down to luck. Which Pedro doesn’t seem to have much of.
    Glock – Should be faster than Pic easily. Deserves a better seat. Hopefully he will have a luckier year this time around.

    The intra-team battles in the midfield this year are going to be enthralling. Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso all have extremely talented and young drivers who will be striving to beat the guy next to them. Can’t wait.

  10. Enigma (@enigma) said on 13th March 2012, 12:42

    My predictions:
    Vettel – Webber will be considerably closer than last year and will manage a race win or two on merit, but I can’t see him beating Vettel over the whole season.
    Button – Hamilton will be back to his usual speed, but he’ll still make an error here and there. Because of tyre conservation, tactical thinking and consistency, Button will be slightly ahead, but only by a handful of points.
    Alonso – Massa will improve over last year and will be able to beat Fernando on merit a few times, but he’ll still be far behind in the standings.
    Rosberg – Schumacher will be at his best since his comeback, but the closeness of the field will mean qualifying will be as important as ever. That’s where Rosberg will win the battle.
    Raikkonen – Kimi will prevail in the battle but Romain will be far from humiliated.
    Di Resta – The hardest one to predict, but I think Paul will be slightly better – but both will do a fantastic job and push each other in what will be the most exciting team-mate battle of the year.
    Perez – Far from sure here, but I think Sergio will be quicker. Kobayashi will put in some formidable performances, but, overall, Checo will be the one to consistently pick up points when possible.
    Vergne – Ricciardo is the more experienced one, but I consider Jev the more talented of the two and I think he’ll be the better driver this year, but it’ll be mighty close.
    Senna – Maldonado seems to be an under-rated drivers, but so is Senna – he’ll finally have a full season in a solid car and he’ll prove his worth. Even though the car seems to struggle in slow corners, I still expect Maldonado to impress in Monaco.
    Kovalainen – Petrov did a good job compared to Kubica and Heidfeld, but I think Heikki will be slightly faster all year long and will be the one to get the team’s first point.
    de la Rosa – Easily the least exciting driver line-up, I think Pedro will outperform Narain, but it might be quite close.
    Glock – Timo will once again beat the rookie team-mate, but I have a feeling Charles will be his toughest competitior yet.

  11. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 13th March 2012, 13:17

    An all-new and highly inexperienced driver pairing at Toro Rosso as they play another round of ‘Red Bull Idol’.

    HAHAHHA LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLL
    Hey @keithcollantine I still don’t see the avatars and this is a different PC . Problems with IE9

  12. markp said on 13th March 2012, 13:40

    Anything can happen Irvine beat Schumacher in 1999. I wouldn’t put my money on anything especially the Mclaren pairing.

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th March 2012, 13:55

    I’ve gone with the majority on most but a few made me scratch my head.

    Di Resta or The Hulk. I went for Di Resta, based on purely on having the most recent experience in F1.

    Button or Hamilton. I went with Button. A really close one but I think he’s a bit of a silent assassin when it comes to over-taking. I think he was voted the best over-taker last by this site so that’s what I’m basing my thoughts on. Arguably Hamilton is quicker on the Saturday though.

    Perez or Kobayashi. From memory I think Perez was the better qualifier last year. Plus, it seems that Kobayashi’s primary skill of over-taking has been somewhat diluted by the introduction of DRS.

    Good article, @keithcollantine

    Be interesting to bring this back to our attention come the end of November!

  14. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 13th March 2012, 14:14

    For me it’s quite clear. Vettel; Hamilton(just!); Alonso; Schumacher; Raikkonen; Hulkenberg; Perez; Vergne; Senna; Kovalainen; dela Rosa; Glock.

    I don’t agree with the winning votes on Findia; Sauber and STR.

    Findia – I honestly am not convinced by Di Resta, who I feel is overrated.
    Sauber – I have never been convinced by Kobayashi tbh. Other than his Monaco drive he was fairly unspectacular. Even in 2009/2010 all he did was pass. He was a very bad qualifier.
    STR – I feel Ricciardo is overrated; and in their time together as teammates in FR3.5 (I think?) Vergne outscored him in their races together; though Vergne popped in at mid-season; though Ricciardo had been there since the start.

  15. Kamui Fan (@kamui-fan) said on 13th March 2012, 14:34

    Vettel - likely he will dominate Webber like last year.
    Hamilton - He will bounce back after a tough season last year.
    Alonso – Massa should not be in the second Ferrari seat.
    Rosberg - close call but Rosberg will edge it.
    Hulkenberg - as much as I rate di Resta, I have a feeling Hulkenberg is the better of the two.
    Kobayashi – another close battle but Kamui’s better race pace should play into his hands.
    Ricciardo – purely due to little F1 experience compared to Vergne.
    Senna – decent driver who looks more consistent than erratic Maldonado.
    Kovalainen – Consistent and more experienced with team knowledge.

    de la Rosa

    – Neither driver here is particularly good but de la Rosa’s experience as a tester should benefit HRT.
    Glock – No brainer

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