With George Russell’s arrival set to present another new challenge in 2022, we’ve ranked each of Hamilton’s teammates so far in F1 from over the years…

5th - Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren 2008-2009)


Drafted in as a replacement for Fernando Alonso at the end of 2007, Kovalainen was Hamilton’s teammate for two years at McLaren. Very quickly it was apparent that the Finn was no match for McLaren’s star man as Hamilton fought Felipe Massa for the 2008 title, while Kovalainen languished behind BMW pair Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld, as well as Alonso who returned to Renault in the final standings.

While Kovalainen’s 2008 campaign was marred by some misfortune, lady luck finally favoured him at the Hungarian Grand Prix when Massa’s engine failed on the penultimate lap to hand him a surprise maiden victory.

“Welcome to the world of winning, Heikki,” said McLaren team boss Ron Dennis over the radio after Kovalainen’s win in Budapest, “The first of many...” 

Oh, how wrong he was.

McLaren started the 2009 campaign slowly following a major regulation overhaul but Hamilton dragged it to two victories and five podium finishes as the Woking outfit developed its car well through the season. Kovalainen struggled and was ultimately dropped for 2010 in favour of newly-crowned champion Jenson Button.


4th - Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes 2017-2021)


A last-minute replacement for Nico Rosberg after his shock retirement at the end of 2016, Bottas would remain with Hamilton for five seasons from 2017 to 2021 - 100 races in total. 

While Bottas doesn’t top this particular list, Hamilton has frequently labelled the former Williams driver as his ‘best ever teammate’ for his collaborative and professional attitude.

As Bottas fell out of title contention in 2017 and 2018, he was forced to assist Hamilton’s title bid against Sebastian Vettel. Bottas obeyed team orders in Germany and Russia in 2018 to ensure his teammate won, while supporting his teammate where possible.

Mercedes was the class of the field in 2019 and 2020 but Hamilton kept Bottas at arm’s length despite the latter’s notable improvement. Bottas was able to up his game over one lap, however, a lack of consistency, poor tyre management and weak wheel-to-wheel combat meant a repeat of 2014 or 2016 was never likely.

Bottas played an instrumental role in aiding Mercedes to record-breaking success and being the perfect foil to Hamilton, but he was never a serious threat.


3rd - Jenson Button (McLaren 2010-2012)


Statistically, Button has an impressive record against Hamilton having out-scored his fellow countryman across their three seasons together at McLaren. 

It’s fair to say there are some caveats to that given Hamilton’s considerable misfortune in 2012 with reliability and poor pit stops, while 2011 was an off-year for him.

Take nothing away from Button who ran Hamilton close in his first year with the team, and an argument can be made that his 2011 campaign was more impressive than his title-winning season in 2009 as he finished runner-up to Vettel.

Hamilton had a significant advantage in qualifying over his teammate but the pair were incredibly close on race day, with some memorable wheel-to-wheel duels. 


2nd - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes 2013-2016)


The Rosberg-Hamilton rivalry dominated the start of the hybrid era with Mercedes comfortably clear of the rest of the pack. Winning 54 out of 78 races together over four seasons, the ‘Silver War’ was born.

Rosberg out-qualified Hamilton across 2014, taking the title fight down to a decider in Abu Dhabi which he lost and would have lost even without the engine issue which hampered his chances. 2015 was one-way traffic in Hamilton’s favour but a hat-trick of wins for Rosberg at the end of the year put him in good stead for 2016.

Making the most of every opportunity given to him as Hamilton was on the wrong end of bad luck and troubled starts, Rosberg began the year with four consecutive victories. While luck was on his side, his performances at Baku and Singapore were world-champion-like and his ability to deal with the pressure at the end of the season was impressive.

Given Hamilton was more experienced and arguably a better driver than he was in 2007, and Rosberg’s competitive record against him, the German was unfortunate to miss out on top spot.


1st - Fernando Alonso (McLaren 2007)


The closest thing we’ve had to Senna-Prost, Hamilton’s one-year stint with Alonso will go down in history as one of the most explosive teammate pairings.

Joining McLaren as a two-time champion, Alonso expected to be the de facto number one, however, the man from Stevenage had other ideas. Hamilton immediately laid down a marker in the season-opener at Albert Park, spectacularly overtaking Alonso around the outside into Turn 1.

The Spaniard established some dominance with wins in Malaysia and Monaco, but Hamilton’s remarkable run of podium finishes - nine including two wins in Canada and USA - propelled him to the top of the championship in what was a remarkable rookie season. Hamilton took his maiden win in Montreal before holding off Alonso after immense pressure at Indianapolis to win again.

Controversy hit at the Hungaroring as Hamilton disobeyed a team instruction, disadvantaging Alonso and thus leading the Spaniard to take matters into his own hands as he sat in the pit box for an additional 10 seconds when he was being refuelled, meaning Hamilton was unable to complete a final lap in Q3.

Alonso was penalised for his actions while Hamilton dominated the race to extend his lead in the championship. While the pair were fixated on each other, it allowed Kimi Raikkonen to come out of nowhere to snatch an unlikely title at the death. 

Alongside this intense duel, McLaren was involved in the ‘spy-gate’ scandal for having confidential technical information about Ferrari - it was disqualified from the constructors’ championship and fined $100,000. Even if it was Hamilton’s first season in F1, it still remains one of his best given the stature and quality of his teammate.