Hamilton has had six teammates throughout his 17-year F1 career split between spells at McLaren and Mercedes, with some pairings proving more volatile than others. 

So we’ve had a go at ranking them in order, starting with the most harmonious combination, all the way to the most explosive…

6. Heikki Kovalainen

We start with Hamilton’s second F1 teammate, Heikki Kovalainen. The Finn entered F1 at the same time as Hamilton in 2007, with both being tipped as hot prospects. 

But Kovalainen soon had to accept that he would be playing second-fiddle to Hamilton, who quickly established himself as the team leader and held the upper-hand. 

This realisation hit Kovalainen at Silverstone when he was asked to give up the lead (after claiming a brilliant pole) to Hamilton, who found himself in a title battle against Ferrari’s Felipe Massa

Other than the rare times he finished ahead of Hamilton (taking his first and only win in Hungary, and second place at Monza being the most notable examples), it had become apparent that Kovalainen was no match for the Briton over their two years together. 

Kovalainen accepted this and slotted into the de facto number two without any complaint. He never scaled the heights of his teammate, but never tried to undermine Hamilton either. 

5. Valtteri Bottas 

Mercedes’ most successful driver pairing. The Valtteri Bottas-Hamilton partnership yielded five consecutive constructors’ championships and four drivers’ titles during their five-year stint together. 

Bottas only really finds himself ahead of Kovalainen based on the fact he posed a bigger threat to Hamilton. Bottas was an excellent qualifier and had an impressive record against Hamilton on Saturdays. This saw him start in front of Hamilton on many occasions but Bottas regularly faltered on Sundays when Hamilton, in contrast, was at his devastating best. 

Although there were no major flashpoints, Bottas’ qualifying form did lead to a couple of awkward moments for Mercedes. The most notable was Mercedes’ controversial use of team orders at Sochi in 2018 when Bottas was asked to give up his win to boost Hamilton’s title bid against Sebastian Vettel. Bottas was visibly angered by the call, which proved to be the watershed moment that effectively determined his position as Hamilton’s wingman. 

It was a role the Finn largely accepted, partly thanks to the fair way in which Hamilton dealt with a last-lap car swap and stuck by his promise at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix - a moment which ultimately set the tone for their relationship which was maintained throughout.  

4. George Russell 

Russell has gone from Hamilton fan boy to his latest F1 teammate and they have so far largely been harmonious. Despite Mercedes’ competitive struggles in 2022, their working relationship did not come under strain. 

However, cracks have started to emerge this year. There were brief moments of tension during qualifying mishaps in Spain - where contact was made - and Spa, but these incidents were quickly put down to miscommunication from Mercedes’ side. 

Tempers notably flared between Hamilton and Russell at Suzuka. They raced wheel-to-wheel hard on multiple occasions, prompting irate complaints from Russell. A tense disagreement about strategy also played out over team radio, but this was handled smartly by both drivers after the race. 

Despite their best attempts to downplay what happened in Japan, it served as a hint at the inevitable fireworks that will surely come between Hamilton and Russell once Mercedes have a car capable of fighting for wins and world championships. 

3. Jenson Button

After winning his fairytale first world title with Brawn, Jenson Button made the switch to McLaren, where he partnered Hamilton for three seasons. 

Button would prove to be Hamilton’s most competitive teammate since Fernando Alonso in 2007 and despite maintaining a largely respectful relationship, the pair didn’t always see eye-to-eye. 

There was tension during a hard-fought battle for the lead in Turkey 2010 when Hamilton believed Button had received the same instruction from McLaren to save fuel. 

Hamilton directly questioned whether Button would pass him if he backed off, to which he was told “no Lewis, no.” 

But Button did mount an attack and snatched the lead from Hamilton, who immediately reclaimed the position with a forceful move to seal the win. The duo collided again a year later when Button (en route to an epic victory) pushed Hamilton into the pit wall, causing race-ending damage for Hamilton. 

Arguably, the most controversial moment took place at Spa in 2012 when Hamilton revealed conditional information by posting a picture of data from his and Button’s qualifying laps on Twitter, leaving Button “disappointed”. 

Both Hamilton and Button have moved on from any differences they once had and now get along well. 

2. Fernando Alonso 

Hamilton and Alonso may have only been teammates at McLaren for 17 races, but their fierce rivalry in 2007 led to a blockbuster fallout that still has repercussions to this day. 

Having joined McLaren as a two-time world champion following his title-winning 2005 and 2006 campaigns, Alonso expected to be McLaren's lead driver, particularly given he was partnered by a rookie. 

McLaren engaged in a season-long battle against Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Hamilton and Alonso’s drama was not only detrimental for themselves, but also for the team. 

Things reached boiling point at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, when Alonso was penalised for blocking Hamilton in the pit lane during qualifying. The Spaniard was stripped of his pole position and fell out with his McLaren team bosses. 

The controversy was perceived to be retaliation from Alonso, who had been left angered by a post-race argument in Monaco that broke his relationship with McLaren boss Ron Dennis. The unrepairable war within McLaren got so bad it forced Alonso to quit the team after just one year to return to Renault.

Hamilton and Alonso have had a fractious relationship ever since and have sparred (both on and off track) on several occasions over the following years. 

1. Nico Rosberg 

Hamilton and Nico Rosberg went from childhood friends to enemies as they engaged in a three-year inter-team tussle for F1 glory that drew comparisons to the legendary rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. 

Regarded as one of the most fascinating and fiercest battles between F1 teammates, Hamilton and Rosberg went head-to-head for consecutive world titles between 2014 and 2016. 

After back-to-back defeats to Hamilton, Rosberg recouped to win the 2016 crown before retiring from the sport days later, citing the mental toll their three-year fight had had on him. 

The cracks of their fallout first appeared in 2014. 

A feisty, borderline duel for victory in Bahrain irked Rosberg, who secured a crucial pole in Monaco in controversial circumstances. The German went off at Mirabeau after taking provisional pole, with his actions causing yellow flags that denied Hamilton the chance to improve. 

Hamilton and Rosberg clashed on the first lap in Spa later that year - a collision that greatly angered Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. And the conflict would only continue. There was the infamous ‘cap-gate’ incident after Hamilton clinched his third world title in Austin following a tension-filled 2015 season, before things came to a head in 2016. 

Hamilton and Rosberg inexplicably took each other out in an unforgettable first-lap crash at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, paving the way for Max Verstappen’s first win on his Red Bull debut. 

Further aggression followed in Austria when Hamilton and Rosberg again came to blows as they fought for the win on the final lap, with neither driver prepared to yield. This time, they both made the chequered flag. 

Games that summed up their rivalry were played in that year’s Abu Dhabi title-decider as Hamilton unsuccessfully attempted to back Rosberg into the chasing pack in what would turn out to be their final race as teammates.

While Rosberg has at times been very complimentary of Hamilton during punditry appearances for Sky in the F1 paddock, their relationship remains frosty to say the least.