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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Images ?? Red Bull/Getty images, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Mercedes, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Fore India/Sutton, Sauber F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images, Williams/LAT, Caterham/LAT, HRT F1 Team, GP2 Media Service

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

  1. Fixy (@fixy) said on 13th March 2012, 14:40

    Vettel – by a lot
    Hamilton – by little, but I expect him to be back to form
    Alonso – by a lot
    Rosberg – b
    Grosjean – by little, as I expect Kimi to have a harder time in the first races
    Hulkenberg – by little
    Ricciardo – by very little

  2. Michael Brown (@) said on 13th March 2012, 14:48

    Vettel: Webber might be able to close the gap, but Vettel’s still miles ahead.
    Hamilton: Was only beaten by Button because of all of his incidents. But if he can’t clean those up, McLaren would be justified in replacing him.
    Alonso: Everyone knows Fernando is faster than Felipe.
    Raikkonen: I don’t think he’s lost as much speed as Schumacher did. He should be able to outrace his teammate at every Grand Prix.
    Schumacher: Because he closed the gap to Rosberg in 2011 and had a chance of beating him. I think he can pull ahead this year.
    Hulkenberg: Tough one, because Force India’s got an exciting lineup.
    Perez: This guy’s exciting. One stopping like a boss and giving Kobayashi a run for his money.
    Toro Rosso: Heart says Vergne. Head says Ricciardo.
    Senna: It will be close, but he will come out on top.
    Kovalainen: Petrov doesn’t stand a chance.
    de la Rosa: More experience will help.
    Pic: Because I think he has something.

  3. The Limit said on 13th March 2012, 15:15

    Anyone who thinks Red Bull does not use team orders obviously missed last years Silverstone grands prix inwhich Mark Webber was quite delibrately told not to pass Sebastien Vettel. Cristian Horner had to tell Webber to maintain ‘the gap’ to Vettel several times before the Australian finally obeyed with a ‘right o mate’! over the radio. Being told not to pass is no different from being told to let someone pass, its a fix and nothing more. Its just the same as a boxer taking a dive, and that certainly does not do the sport any good at all. We all know this has gone on since racing began, and Keith was right in that its wrong, but every team has to an extent ‘tested’ the rule book and are lying through their teeth by suggesting otherwise.
    As for team mates, I agree with the consensus. The one thing I like about DRS is that a bad grid position for a driver now does not always mean the same driver having a bad race. This certainly aided Jenson Button in 2011 and Fernando Alonso in instances when they had bad grid spots. Obviously there are exceptions, such as Monaco, but in that reason alone I like DRS.
    Where Vettel was supreme last year was in his knack of gapping the following cars in such a way in that they could not use their DRS, making it as good as useless. He also was very good at getting away from the grid at the start aswell, which only made things easier. Those that criticise DRS should remember that, and in my mind, that strategy is key to whoever wins this years championship.
    I think we will see improvements from Webber, Hamilton, and Massa. Of the three, I feel that Felipe is under the most pressure. Ferrari have made no secret of the fact that Massa’s seat is under threat, and that they except more from him. He really needs a good season more than anybody.

  4. katederby (@katederby) said on 13th March 2012, 15:33

    Just guessing, no logic here!

    Webber, Button, Alonso, Schumacher, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Perez, Vergne, Petrov, Senna, PDLR, Pic

  5. matthewf1 (@) said on 13th March 2012, 16:18

    Vettel – easy
    Hamilton – will prove that Button just had a one-off good year in 2011
    Alonso – faster than Felipe (confirmed by Scuderia Ferrari in 2010)
    Schumacher – well it’s now or never for MSC, hopefully he will get his act together
    Raikkonen – seems really up for it
    Hulkenberg – impressive career record, I think he is quicker than DIR
    Perez – will step up this year
    Vergne – Ricciardo wasn’t any better than Liuzzi in the HRT
    Williams – Senna just, although Frank in his wheelchair would probably beat both of them
    Caterham – Kova easy
    HRT – Dani Clos
    Marussia – Pic

  6. matthew said on 13th March 2012, 16:19

    hamilton will beat button.i dont think hamilton really struggled with the tyres last season,he just got impatient and pushed too hard at times which really cost him.also these tyres seem to take longer to warm up which could really hurt button,we already know he struggles with that.
    anyway untill monaco lewis was the only driver staying close to vettel,then he had that bad luck in monaco during quali and became very impatient and frustrated.
    but he realizes now when to push hard and when not to push so hard,we saw that in his final win of last season, and he will also continue to outqualify jenson.button was at 100% last season,lewis only 60-70% but he still managed 3 wins and repeatedly outqualified jenson.

    • matthewf1 (@) said on 13th March 2012, 17:10

      Agreed – last year, widely viewed as Jenson’s best year, he won 3 times. Last year, widely viewed as Lewis’s worst year, he won 3 times. Shows how the maximum capabilities of each driver is viewed differently.

      Also agree about Monaco, Lewis was unlucky to miss pole due to Perez’s crash, and he tried to overcompensate because of that. Kind of started a downward spiral for the next few races after that.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th March 2012, 17:15

        @matthewf1 – Hamilton had a chance at getting on the front row, but really he should’ve got out and done a banker lap like several of the other runners. There’s always a high risk of red flags at Monaco.

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 14th March 2012, 8:24

          @David-A,@matthewf1, since HAM says he reviewed his season, and re-watched some of it to see where it went wrong, I think he probably picked up on those things; knowing where you went wrong is a big step, if he can manage to also avoid making them again (you’d hope so, really), I see him beating Button, but not by a very big margin on Sunday.

  7. PedroCandeias (@pedrocandeias) said on 13th March 2012, 18:57

    Didn’t vote for any of the HRT drivers. Historically, chances are very high that neither will see championship through.

  8. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 13th March 2012, 20:49

    Vettel, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Di Resta, Kobayashi, Ricciardo, Senna, Kovalainen, De La Rosa, Glock.

  9. MJ (@mjf1) said on 13th March 2012, 21:32

    Vettel, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Kimi, Hulk, Ricciardo, Perez, Senna, Kovalainen, de la Rosa, Glock

  10. James (@jamesf1) said on 13th March 2012, 21:51

    Vettel – He’s been very convincing in the car, and seems to have the team behind him. That’s not to say that Webber doesnt have support, but I feel that Vettel will have the legs on Webber this year.

    Button – I’m suprised that so many people think Hamilton will beat Button? There’s no denying that Hamilton is quicker over one lap, but over a race distance he just cant manage the tyres as well, keeps his calm or read situations as well as Button. I hate drawing paralells with the past, but this really is like Senna and Prost. The out and out racer against the calculating Professor. Button got Mclaren’s first win of 2010 and convincingly out scored Hamilton last year. I expect more of the same this year.

    Alonso – Does this one need explaining?

    Rosberg – Begrudgingly I voted Rosberg. There’s no denying Schumacher’s brilliance, but I think Michael is only 90% of the race we once knew. In today’s racing field, that 10% makes a heck of a distance. There are now 5 teams which could win a race rather than the two or three which Michael was used to. I’m sure we’ll see some excellent racing from Michael this year, but will it contribute to a podium (at least?)? We’ll see

    Raikkonen – He’s still got it. He’s the dark horse for a race win (or two) this year. Grosjean will be better this year than in 2009, I’m sure of it. He’s had time to grow up, gain racing experience and develop his racing ability. However, there is no denying Raikkonen’s pace. His Top Gear lap was amazing last week, especially considering it was wet. Jezza used to say that a wet lap in the Lecetti is around 4 seconds a lap slower than a dry one. On that basis, Raikkonen would have been 0.1s slower than Vettel’s time.

    Di Resta – A team in which both driver’s are only in their second season, so theoretically they’d be evenly matched. But Di Resta hasnt had a year out and he’s had the advantage of integrating himself into the team over several years. I dont think the Hulk will out score Di Resta this year, although I expect him to get a few strong points finishes

    Perez – He’s sort of like Button, good with his tyres. I’m sure it’s written in the stars that he’ll be at Ferrari one day, perhaps as soon as 2013. Perhaps this year will be the year that his performances shall lead to him signing on the dotted line at Maranello.

    Ricciardo – His tenure at HRT will have done him no harm. Not a quick team, but at least he’s had a chance to learn some of the circuits, interact with engineers and gain some vital experience. If Verne does start challenging him, I reckon it will be towards the end of the European season, when he’s on top of the car and at home in the team. We shall see

    Senna – I’m not gonna talk about how much better Senna is than Maldanado. I’m gonna work it the other way around. The only purpose Maldonado is serving in F1 at the moment is keeping Williams alive with sponsership. He’s an appaling racer, poor standards and I do not rate him. We can talk about his GP2 and other feeder series wins, but that doesnt count for anything at the sharp end. The sooner he’s out, the better.

    Kovaleinen – He’s been with the team for some time now, and generally a good racer all round. Would be nice to see him in a top 5 team again sometime soon, but in the mean time making a name for himself in a very small, young team isnt doing him any harm. I tihnk results will go Kova’s way 60% of the time. Petrov isnt no slouch, but I think he’ll be the slower of the two ex-Renault recruits.

    De La Rosa – Dont think I need to explain myself on this one. Similar arguement to Senna/Maldanado I guess.

    Glock – If Pic beats Glock more than 50% of the time this year, I’ll be amazed.

  11. pking008 (@pking008) said on 13th March 2012, 22:43

    Vettel: Because i think Webber is not allowed to beat him. RBR essentially operate a team order in favour of wunder boy.
    Button: Because i think Hamilton is nearing his last days at McLaren. Too much water under the bridge. As talented as he is, he has only this year left on his contract. No team that values their top driver leave them without a contract until their last year while you have an over 30 driver on a new 3 year contract. Why is the pole so close between the Macca drivers? Because they are the only BIG team with no team orders. If Red Bull and Ferrari were to operate like Macca, there drivers would be similarly close.
    Alonso: Since Schumachers days, Ferrari operate a team order in favour of their preferred driver who this time is Alonso.
    Schumacher: If he doesn’t, then can’t see him staying on
    Kimi: For obvious reasons. He is a brand name and Lotus needs it for marketing. (not that Kimi would do any of it)
    Hulkenberg: I like Di Resta but I think Hulkenburg will edge it.
    Perez: Is a good driver. he should out-do Kobayashi this year. Kobby is a good overtaker but an ok racer.
    Ricciardo: I think. The other dude i dont know much about.
    Senna: big name for Williams.
    Kovalainen: Kovalainen as he has ample experience
    De la Rosa: Karthikeyan.. none. dont ask me why
    Glock: old hand!

  12. Anti-RBR (@matt2208) said on 13th March 2012, 23:01

    Hamilton To smash Button..Loving all this JensonHype.

  13. For me:

    De La Rosa

  14. pytho (@pytho) said on 15th March 2012, 10:29

    My vote: Vettel, Button, Alonso, Schumacher, Räikkönen, di Resta, Pérez, Ricciardo, Senna, Kovalainen, De la Rosa, Glock.

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