Formula 1 has seen incredible rivalries over the years, some more notable and explosive than others. We’ve narrowed it down to who we believe make up 10 of the greatest rivalries of the sport.

10. Sebastian Vettel vs. Fernando Alonso

Starting off with Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for number 10.

The two began their battle in 2010, when Alonso would begin his quest for a championship at Ferrari.

Adrian Newey’s magnificent cars meant that Alonso in the inferior Ferrari, could only ever pick up the pieces points wise and wins wise when Vettel would encounter difficulties.

Whilst this wasn’t a traditional rivalry in the sense of major on-track controversies between the two, both Alonso and Vettel would push each other’s talents and abilities to the test.

Alonso would essentially lose four titles to Vettel through predominantly bad luck and an uncompetitive car despite his valiant efforts.

9. Alan Jones vs. Carlos Reutemann

Team orders were at the bane of these two’s rivalry. After a successful year in 1980 with the Aussie winning the title and the Constructors, things seemed rosy between the two.

However, their relationship fell apart in 1981 after Reutemann refused to let Jones by despite team orders at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Their rivalry would culminate in the two consistently taking points off each other all season and allowing Brazilian Nelson Piquet to win the title by just a point.

Jones would later retire at the end of the season and Reutemann would suggest the pair should bury the hatchet. The Australian simply replied with a “yeah, in your expletive back mate”.

8. Nigel Mansell vs. Ayrton Senna

Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna are number 8 for our list.

Mansell might not have been held in the same regard as Senna for terms of natural talent, but the Brit certainly didn’t let this stop him from rattling the Brazilian’s cage.

Their rivalry would see the two placed against each other in brilliant battles, such as their wheel-to-wheel race in Barcelona 1991 where Mansell would just edge past Senna.

The two were no strangers to coming to blows, such as in Belgium 1987 when they would crash into each other.

Senna would later describe how Mansell would hold him by the throat in anger as the red mist descended on the two.

7. Fernando Alonso vs. Lewis Hamilton

2007 was an explosive year for McLaren, with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso coming in at number 7.

As the reigning two-time world champion, Alonso was under the assumption that he would hold the number 1 driver status at the team, a fact that rookie Hamilton completely disagreed with.

The Spaniard couldn’t handle being beaten by Lewis, with Alonso going as far to purposely ruin Hamilton’s qualifying attempt in Hungary.

Rumours were rife that Alonso had also tried to blackmail McLaren team boss Ron Dennis about his Number 1 driver position, and had threatened to leave the team.

The continual dogfighting between the two would see them both cost McLaren the title with their consistent mishaps as Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen would capitalise and take the 2007 title.

6. Michael Schumacher vs. Mika Hakkinen

Whilst not the most controversial or bitter rivalry F1 has seen, 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen’s battle was a fascinating one to watch as two technical minds were put against each other.

The rivals were well-matched in legendary title fights in 1998 and 2000, and both brought the best out of each other, trading race wins and pole positions constantly.

They showed huge admiration and respect for each other despite their on-track tussles, most notably when Schumacher would intently listen to the Finn’s complaints after a strong defensive move at the 2000 Belgian GP.

Schumacher would later admit that Hakkinen was one of the only drivers whom he would gain the most enjoyment and satisfaction of racing against.

5. Mark Webber vs. Sebastian Vettel

Five years of being teammates at Red Bull truly put Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel’s relationship to the test.

Prior to the German moving to the team, the duo had already had a previous collision in Japan in 2007 where Vettel annihilated Webber’s shot at a podium.

Things would continue to escalate with Vettel again taking out Webber in Turkey in 2010, with senior management choosing to side with the youngster despite the general overview that he had been responsible.

Many will remember Webber’s famous line “not bad for a Number 2 driver” after he won in Silverstone, despite Vettel continually being favoured by the team.

Whilst Vettel would go on to win 4 titles in his tenure with the team, his 2012 quest saw him angered by Webber’s lack of aid at the Brazil finale after Vettel spun at the start.

His revenge? The infamous Multi-21 team orders at the 2013 Malaysian GP. These would drive the final nail in the coffin for Webber’s patience with Red Bull and his time in the sport.

4. Nigel Mansell vs. Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet joined Williams in 1986 as a two-time World Champion, and made the assumption that it was inevitable he would be the teams’ Number 1 driver. However, Nigel Mansell disagreed.

Mansell asserted his dominance with strong results on the track, forcing Piquet into a corner and to retaliate with mind games and refused to share any technical data with the Brit.

The rivalry would continue to intensify, leading the team to inevitably lose the 1986 title.

Their dislike for each other would move into 1987, where at Silverstone Mansell would pull an incredible move in front of the home crowd and take victory, enraging Piquet.

Piquet would later leave the team at the end of the season, but their rivalry would continue for years to come.

3. Niki Lauda vs. James Hunt

With a rivalry so enigmatic and intense it produced Hollywood’s very own Rush, Lauda & Hunt are number 3 on our countdown.

Both were incredibly different personalities. Hunt was the charismatic playboy of Formula 1, who knew how to drive a car fast, and Lauda was a ruthless intellectual machine, 100% focused on racing, and winning that title.

Hunt would be stripped of his race victory in Silverstone which would be handed to his rival, who would then go on to suffer life-threatening injuries after his fiery Nurburgring accident, returning two races later at Monza.

However, due to the Austrian’s absence Hunt had managed to score enough points to pip Lauda by one point in Fuji after Lauda withdrew due to safety fears.

2. Lewis Hamilton vs. Nico Rosberg

In what was certainly the greatest rivalry of the last decade, Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton take the number 2 spot.

Growing up as karting friends, the two originally got along until the 2014 season, when Mercedes’ hybrid era dominance became apparent.

The two had nowhere to hide as the tension became apparent both on the track and off. With a notable mention to Rosberg throwing the podium cap back towards Hamilton after his championship victory in Austin in the cool-down room.

The 2016 season was full of drama, with clashes in both Spain and Austria, and Hamilton’s deliberate hold-up of Rosberg at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg would take the title win in 2016, and completely exhausted both physically and mentally from his tumultuous campaign against Hamilton, announced his immediate retirement.

1. Alain Prost vs. Ayrton Senna

Potentially the most famous rivalry of all-time in F1, Ayrton Senna & Alain Prost’s intra-team war defined the sport.

Arguably one of the most successful driving pairings ever to be seen in F1, with 7 titles between them and 92 race wins, these two took everything to the absolute limit, on and off the track.

Who can forget the Japanese GP when Senna would dive down the inside and take Prost out of the race, leading to the Brazilian’s disqualification, and handing Prost the title.

Or perhaps the following year when they would collide again in Japan, with the title going to Senna.

Their highly tumultuous relationship would set the competitive tone for the sport, and forge the two’s legendary status that still holds true to this day.

Whilst it was a very competitive list to compile, let us know if you can think of any other notable rivalries worth a mention.

Who is your favourite rivalry in Formula 1? And, who do you believe will be the greatest rivalry of the next decade between the likes of Hamilton, Verstappen and Leclerc?

Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to like and subscribe for more motorsport content.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...