Rivalries in motorsports like F1 are a treat to watch. They not only bring out the true nature of the driver but also display his zeal and passion to win. The viewers on the other hand get to take sides which makes the game a lot more interesting and characterful.
Formula One has witnessed many rivalries since its first championship in 1950. Some rivalries were short while others lasted throughout their careers. We’re quoting some famous and fierce rivalries from a Reddit post that no one can forget.
Michael Schumacher vs Mika Hakkinen
The most upvoted one is the rivalry between Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen that went on for nearly three years between 1998 and 2001. This post on Reddit received nearly 1.5k upvotes.
Hakkinen was the biggest hurdle as Ferrari tried hard to win its first drivers’ title for nearly two decades. The pace of the McLaren MP4-13 was beyond reach in 1998 but Ferrari tried its best. Their rivalry was most dignified though as it was mostly about who was fastest and who ultimately took the most wins.
Though Schumacher mostly won over Hakkinen during their wheel-to-wheel battles, Hakkinen came out on top at Spa in 2000. This was a popular encounter where Schumacher pushed Hakkinen towards the grass at 200mph, fighting for the lead as they both lapped Ricardo Zonta. The Mclaren simply had the extra edge that helped Hakkinen win the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ayrton Senna vs Alain Prost
The other most popular, fierce and controversial rivalry among F1 drivers was between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost which lasted eight years. The post on Reddit received 871 upvotes.
The audience was often pushed to the edge of their seats looking at Senna and Prost race. The rivalry began properly when Senna joined Prost as a teammate in 1988 and since then, things pretty much went downhill when Senna was often seen trying to push Prost against the pit wall at high speed. The period witnessed intense heat and wheel-to-wheel battles until Prost joined Ferrari.
Prost didn’t have to move out of Senna’s way anymore. Senna crashed into Prost during the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix when he suddenly dived into the final chicane. He re-pitted and got going again but was disqualified eventually for his mistake while Prost was confirmed world champion after heated arguments.
Recalling another instance, Senna ruined a title contest when he drove into Prost at high speed on the opening lap of the Japanese Grand Prix to secure the title. Eventually, Prost took a sabbatical and rejoined F1 with Williams- Renault for 1993. Senna put in his best with the McLaren but Prost went on to win his fourth title that year and retired.
Their relationship then improved. Senna confessed that he missed his former rival as he raced against a young Micheal Schumacher in 1994. Their relationship (Prost and Senna) couldn’t develop further due to Senna’s death at the San Marino Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton vs Fernando Alonso
The Final rivalry we’d like to mention is the latest one that started in 2007. This time, it is between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Both were paired alongside at McLaren where Hamilton was junior while Alonso just won two championships. However, both secured equal points at the end of the season.
Hamilton didn’t let Alonso get ahead which deteriorated things for Alonso after he protested at the pits. He then returned to Renault in 2008. In 2010, Alonso joined Ferrari and gave direct competition to Hamilton.
Both of them gave a good show for three years but none were a match to Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull. Things went further downhill for Alonso as his performance dropped. So far in 2021, his car hasn’t supported him in the fight against Hamilton, whose career took off well with Mercedes.
There are plenty more rivalries in F1, unsurprisingly that made it to the headlines. You could go through the Reddit thread for more.
If you haven’t noticed it yet, the most controversial and fisticuff races are ones that are remembered the most. Agreed, they are dangerous at times. But, those are the moments that make F1 thrilling and fun.
Without the rivalries and the action off track, F1 would’ve been a bland sport with no soul. The enmity between drivers might have created a lot of strong opinions, criticisms and anger among the teams and fans back then. But today?
Remember your favourite F1 rivalry and clashes today. Recall the drivers and the cars involved. What is the feeling you get? For me, it gets nostalgic and it definitely puts a smile on my face. Most importantly, a sense of respect rises from within for the drivers and for their fighting spirit.