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F1: Lewis Hamilton vs. Max Verstappen, a rivalry that is shaping up to be historic

It is not too early to predict that Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen looks to be a rivalry of those that will give in the near future material to discuss among fans of the Formula 1, even in the style of good pilot battles of yesteryear. This pairing has the potential to become something like a “Hunt vs Lauda”, “Vettel vs Alonso”, “Schumacher vs Raikkonen” or why not a “Senna vs Prost.

After two Grand Prix disputed, the Mercedes has 44 points as a result of a win, a second place and a fast lap. Meanwhile, the young man from Red Bull he has 43 with the same spots, but without the extra point for the quickest turn. A couple of races and two moments that have been controversial. The pass in Bahrain where the Dutchman already felt that he had the victory, but had to return the position when leaving the limits of the track (something that the Englishman did several times in the race, without penalty). In Imola, the seven-time champion lost the race in the first corner when ‘Mad Max’ attacked from the left and put him against the car wash. No contact yet, but we could bet there will be. In fact, in the last maneuver between a pair of steering wheels, there was no room for a sheet of paper and “sparks” are predicted in the next collisions on the circuits. One, 36, is seeking his eighth world title. The other, with 23, goes for the first one and the ingredients for a you to you seem to be suitable for both.

Hamilton is happy with good competition. He loves being said that his Mercedes is not the best car on the grid. That, of course, would make his historic eighth championship something more valuable, in fact projecting him into the taste of those who do not consider him among the best of all time. Plus, Verstappen is the kind of rival you saw. For his part, the partner of Mexican Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez in Red Bull reaches out to take over from Lewis as the ‘dominant species’ in F1 and what better way to do it than to defeat him. For those who believe that F1 is a matter of cars only, 2021 is a year of drivers because everything seems to indicate that both the Mercedes W12 is capable of beating the Red Bull RB16B, on a good day, and vice versa. The fan’s golden dream: two drives in cars from different teams that are close in performance. What role do teammates play in this racing equation? A very important one for sure. First as another contender for the title and then as a stopper or ‘sandwich’.

If Pérez or Valtteri Bottas can put themselves in front of or immediately behind the rival, what teammate in qualifications and races will they enhance, not only their team’s chances in the Constructors’ Championship, but also their teammate’s chance to gain an advantage. For Hamilton this will be one more rivalry in his career. The first was only in 2007, his first year in the top flight, when at McLaren he was the rookie who challenged his two-time champion teammate, Fernando Alonso. This duel cost McLaren dearly, who lost the constructors’ points by ventilating and his espionage on Ferrari was sanctioned, but that fraternal fight, in the end, was thanked by Kimi Raikkonen who took the champion trophy to his shelf. Hamilton then battled to ‘tame’ his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who had the luxury of taking the world title from him in 2016.

The Hamilton vs. Vettel rivalry has been most civilized. Although they have coincided in a large part of their careers, only in 2017 and 2018 were they in any chance of challenging each other. What other great rivalries has Formula 1 had in its history? Quick ranking with some honorable mentions: 10. Lewis Hamilton vs Nico Rosberg 9. Sebastian Vettel vs Fernando Alonso 8. Alan Jones vs Carlos Reutemann 7. Damon Hill vs Michael Schumacher 6. Mika Hakkinen vs Michael Schumacher 5. Gilles Villeneuve vs Didier Pironi 4. Alain Prost vs Nigel Mansell 3. Jim Clark vs Graham Hill 2. James Hunt vs Niki Lauda 1. Ayrton Senna vs Alain Prost Honorable mentions:

  • Fernando Alonso vs Lewis Hamilton

  • Sebastian Vettel vs Mark Webber

  • Nelson Piquet vs Nigel Mansell

  • Michael Schumacher vs Jacques Villeneuve

  • Lewis Hamilton vs Sebastian Vettel

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