The winners of the team mate battles in 2013

2013 F1 season review

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Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg and Jules Bianchi conclusively had the beating of their team mates over a full season in 2013.

But it was a closer contest at other teams and in some case the initiative swung from one side of the garage to the other during the course of the season.

A clear winner

At four teams the contest between the two drivers was very one-sided. Mark Webber and Felipe Massa took a pasting from their respective team mates and both will be driving elsewhere next year.

As noted here previously, Webber’s season marked the low point in his five years against Sebastian Vettel, whereas Massa performed slightly better relative to Fernando Alonso – though still short of the level that should have been expected of him.

Rookies Esteban Gutierrez and Max Chilton had a tough year against their team mates. Gutierrez at least had the excuse of being up against a widely-tipped star of the future in Nico Hulkenberg, but Chilton was comprehensively blown away by a fellow rookie, Jules Bianchi.

Heikki Kovalainen was unable to add to Lotus’s points haul during his two-race stint alongside Romain Grosjean. Third driver Davide Valsecchi cannot have been impressed at the meagre returns the team got after passing him over for the drive.

Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel vs Mark Webber

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Ferrari: Fernando Alonso vs Felipe Massa

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Sauber: Nico Hulkenberg: Esteban Gutierrez

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Marussia: Jules Bianchi vs Max Chilton

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Lotus: Heikki Kovalainen vs Romain Grosjean

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Not much in it

Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Korea International Circuit, 2013At the halfway point in the season at Lotus Kimi Raikkonen was comfortably ahead of Grosjean. But the balance of power changed in the second half, partly as Grosjean acclimatised more successfully to the new specification of tyres and the longer wheelbase E21. Run-ins between the pair on track in Korea and India showed how the balance of power had shifted.

Daniel Ricciardo, who will step up to Red Bull next year, was ahead of team mate Jean-Eric Vergne on every metric, though not by as much as he might have liked. However his superiority was greatest where it arguably matters most: qualifying pace.

In their second season as team mates (the first being 2011) Paul di Resta was generally the faster of the two Force India drivers.

Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen vs Romain Grosjean

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Force India: Paul di Resta vs Adrian Sutil

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Toro Rosso: Jean-Eric Vergne vs Daniel Ricciardo

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Too close to call

Jenson Button, Sergio Perez, McLaren, Bahrain, 2013The raw stats indicate there wasn’t a large gap between the two McLaren drivers, making it something of a surprise Sergio Perez was dropped at the end of his first season alongside Jenson Button at the team.

But statistics like these always need to be considered in context. Without a series of first-lap collisions in the second half of the season, for which he was usually blameless, Button’s score would look much better. Even so it’s telling that Perez’s figures are considerably better than Massa’s were in 2011 and 2012 when Ferrari retained their driver despite his performance.

Pastor Maldonado said his 2013 campaign was the best he’s ever driven in Formula One. That being so, he must have a high opinion of rookie team mate Valtteri Bottas who more than gave him a run for his money, particularly in qualifying, previously seen as one of Maldonado’s strengths.

The closest contest of the year was between the two Mercedes drivers, with Lewis Hamilton enjoying a slender margin over former karting team mate Nico Rosberg. He will expect to shore up that advantage next year with a car that should be more to his liking.

McLaren: Jenson Button vs Sergio Perez

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Mercedes: Nico Rosberg vs Lewis Hamilton

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Williams: Pastor Maldonado vs Valtteri Bottas

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Caterham: Charles Pic vs Giedo van der Garde

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Over to you

Were you surprised by how any of the intra-team battles turned out – and how they changed over the course of the season? How would you qualify any of the data above?

Have your say in the comments.

2013 F1 season review

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Images ?? Red Bull/Getty, Lotus/LAT, McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “The winners of the team mate battles in 2013”

  1. Vettel :D

    1. IMO Vettel was the best driver this sesason, clearly able to maximise crap tyres, engine and aerodnamics to the max, wheareas the others struggled.

      I really disliked Vettel acting like a brat last year when he wasn’t winning but now I understand why, the kid is so talented, if he’s not winning it’s because his team have messed up. He’s one of the top 3 qualifiers and clearly one of the best racers.

      Unless Vettel and Hamilton get to share a team in the next 3 years, so we can equally judge them, I will have to say Vettel is the better of the 2. (although Kimi on form is the best driver ever still, and Alonso is an equal fifth IMO)

      1. Vettel WAS the best driver, without any doubt. He won the championship. So that’s just fact.

        I am surprised about vd Garde tho. Sport1 comment just kept talking about vd Garde, how he outperformed his teammate. But the graph shows facts the other way around.

  2. I was a bit surprised by how close it was between Rosberg and Hamilton, that was a nice surprise. Another nice surprise was that VdGarde showed that he is not just a pay driver and is not completely lost in an F1 car, especially once he got some experience under his belt.

    1. “Another nice surprise was that VdGarde showed that he is not just a pay driver and is not completely lost in an F1 car”

      What is a pay driver? It is a bad driver or a driver who pays for a seat? I think it is the second option, so I don’t see your point. Nowadays almost all talented people have to pay for a seat and there are no more real pay drivers the way we used to see them in the past. The value of a driver is seen on track and not for the money he has to pay for a seat. A good example of this is the way Bruno Senna put Kamui Kobayashi in the shade in the WEC this year: with fair conditions the brazilian got 5 poles and 3 wins while Kobayashi had 0 poles and 0 wins with the team that eventually won the championship in their class. This underlines how much the pay driver label can be unfair in some cases. More money doesn’t mean less talent, as it is often considered by many people, even in the F1 paddock.

    2. If you have some backing, why not use it to get a better car?

    3. You do know that even Alonso is a pay driver right?

      My personal definition of the “Pay Driver” is someone who’s got a large sack of cash and a ridiculous lack of talent, IE Chilton. I think that’s what a lot of people use, people who bring large sponsorship deals “Alonso” and a heap of talent and know-how aren’t “paying” to be in F1, they are there on talent, with a hefty amount of money from that.

      Don’t forget also that in these cases talent = success and success=sponsorship.

    4. vd garde? He brought the car home in most of the races. but he needs bigger mirrors :p

  3. Rosberg deserves a winning car ASAP.

    1. @kingshark He’s had a race winning car for two seasons now, and he’s delivered some very good wins (and poles) in them…

      1. @craig-o
        When I say “winning car”, I’m thinking more like the 2009 Brawn GP.

        The WO3 had a race winning car in two weekends – China and Monaco – and for the rest of the season it was a disaster. The WO4 was better, a match for Red Bull in qualifying, but overall nowhere near capable of winning a championship.

  4. Rosberg confirmed that he is a top driver. Vettel and Alonso showed that at the end of the day – both are ahead of the rest right now.
    The Chilton / Bianchi comparison is a bit unfair, Bianchi spent quite some time with FI so they weren’t rookies on equal grounds.

    1. @tmf42

      Still crushed him though. You’d presume that advantage would be only slight, so he’d be ahead by about Ricciardo distance, and by about half way through, that advantage would have been eroded I think

      1. @juan-pablo-heidfeld-1 true, and it wasn’t meant to take anything away from Bianchi, he is definitely the bigger talent of the 2.
        It’s just that rookies in the small teams with no simulator time and no testing have it way harder these days. And it seems that factor gets overlooked when judging them, so it should be pointed out that Bianchi had a head-start going into the season.

        1. @tmf42

          I suppose so, to be honest I had disregarded that information when judging them, so it’s good you brought it up. I think Chilton did a couple of drives with Marussia in 2012

    2. Chilton did significantly more pre-season testing that Bianchi and when Bianchi did get his deal, he was immediately more impressive than Chilton. It was a massacre in just abut every way possible.

    3. @tmf42 – we shouldn’t be surprised that Rosberg has done well again. He always had the measure of Schumacher, which sadly many wrote off by claiming that Schumi was past it. I suspect not. Rosberg is a very, very smart guy, has deep insight into the aero and mechanical side of the engineering and is naturally fast. Yes, this year he had the advantage over Hamilton of knowing the car – but even given the randomness of events in F1 it looked like they were pretty evenly matched.

    4. “Rosberg confirmed that he is a top driver.”

      Surely, people should’ve realized that after he beat Schumi 3 years IN A ROW ?

  5. Perez wasn’t too bad against his over 10 years of experience world champion teammate.

    1. I don’t think Button underperformed this season, I think he showed his true ability. He’s not all that. Perez was let down a lot by McLaren and I think in the long run him going there was serverly damaged his career.

      1. To be fair, Perez could not have known that Mclaren would produce an awful car, the worst in 20+ years.
        So I hardly think we can blame him for choosing to sign for a team which was the fastest at the end of 2012.

        1. Actually, this was the worst season ever for McLaren, even in its first year McLaren had better result per car entered. You might as well make it “50+ years” :-).

  6. Can’t really say I’m too surprised by any of these except for Grosjean being as close to Kimi as he was given how poorly he started the season. Also didn’t quite expect the Mercedes to be as close, was always expecting Lewis to edge it, but not by such a small margin! Was also surprised (in a good way) to see Massa not as far off Alonso as in previous years too.

  7. Interesting that Bottas finished more often behind Maldonado in the races than Bruno Senna did last year. This despite the brazilian qualified badly all year, partly due to losing track time in free practice. Maldonado may have improved his form in races but he clearly was much worse in qualifying compared to what he did in 2012. With tyres suiting his style and a good car Pastor even managed to beat Vettel in Singapura last year. Had Bottas raced with Williams in 2012 he would have been beaten the way Bruno was beaten, that is quite sure.

    1. Welcome back Fernando Cruz! It hasn’t been the same without you telling us what a great, misunderstood driver Bruno is :-)

  8. Vettel and Alonso mopped the floor with their team mates. The fact that Button did not beat his team mate more comprehensively doesnt surprise me. Button is a second rate driver who lucked into a championship, if Perez had been given an opportunity to drive another season at Mclaren he would most certainly beat Button.

    1. “if Perez had been given an opportunity to drive another season at Mclaren he would most certainly beat Button”

      And your proof behind this is?

      1. i have to agree with him..theres no proof that button would have beaten perez either in another season, but i think perez would have beaten button in a second year too

    2. You can’t really draw conclusion using the points, nor by comparing Button to Alonso and Vettel, because the point are not distributed lineary from 1-10 position. I mean, Vettel or Alonso gained more on their respective teammates by finishing 2-3 places higher, than Button. Of course if you look at the percentages, 9th place worths 200% of 10th place, so in that respect you could say that he should have been more impressive. But can you really blame him for not even trying to beat Checo more? He had no realistic chance to finish higher than he did in the championship, he did not had any immediate threat from behind. McLaren could not have finished higher in the WCC, so why bother, too keep his seat? He already had a contract option for next year. Of course he tried to maximalise the points in every race, but I think he did not have any motivation in the second half of the season.

      But I also have to say Checo was impressive in a few races, he showed that he is an agressive driver, who goes for every overtake, but all in all, I dont think he would have a realistic chance of beating Button in 2 or 3 years, based on his race performances. He does not know when to be agressive and when to hang back.

      1. @bag0 I agree with the last paragraph. However having one or two good races doesn’t produce a world championship. He is far too aggressive and wasn’t exactly spectacular against Button in qualifying either.

  9. “He will expect to shore up that advantage next year with a car that should be more to his liking.”

    Dont think I will be that straightforward. Lewis will need to dig deep. I expect Nico to be just as quick, if not quicker next year. All the changes next year just might suit Nico, and all the tweaking required to get the best out the car will be right up his alley…he has been know to be one of the more technically inclined drivers.

    1. But the cars will be more difficult to drive with the turbo, this will play into Lewis hnds , as Nico needs a well balanced car. I also think on the technical side it’s up to the engineers to make the most out of it , drivers don’t have much influence
      It was rosbergs biggest chance to beat Lewis this year, in an car wich was quite alien to Hamilton, while he had it much to his likings and was comfortable in it

    2. The 2013 car was built to nico’s liking, and a underperforming lewis, still beat him. Lewis should be alot better next season too. I expect lewis to beat nico by a bigger margin next season. I remember ppl writing lewis off after 2011,they thought button would get the better of lewis again in 2012,but we saw what happened.

      I think the fact alonso, kimi (until he announced he was leaving) and vettel sll get number 1 status needs to be taken into consideration, because that always makes life easier against your team-mate.

      1. “I think the fact alonso, kimi (until he announced he was leaving) and vettel sll get number 1 status”

        strange definition of number 1 status. For instance Massa is told to move over for Alonso by lap 20 or so in Japan, when neither is fighting for the championship or even a podium. Several times Romain is told to let Kimi through, while Kimi was racing for both wins and the championship. Vettel? Order to let Webber win in Malaysia? Clear advantage of having number 1 status. Vettel made his own status within the team, either by qualifying ahead of Webber or over taking him in the first few turns of the race.

        The one time that didn’t happen, in Japan, both drivers were given strategies that maximized their ability to manage tires and challenge for the win. Vettel made it happen, Webber could not. (Despite Webber saying how he could easily close on Grojean in the first stint, meaning he should have been given the 2-stop winning-for Vettel at least-strategy. Yet closing up on a driver in this day and age is easy, it’s the passing part Webber couldn’t do).

        As for Kimi and Alonso, they both were performing (and have historically) better against their teammates and even without any team orders would have finished in front of them (and arguably, Kimi’s number 1 status went by the wayside when he announced he was leaving-probably cost Lotus 3rd place in the WCC too). It could be argued that team orders at Ferrari ensured that they finished 3rd in the WCC.

        The bigger issues, why should a team not have a priority driver if doing so scores them less combined points in the season?

  10. Kimi simply the winner of team Return on Investment.

    1. What investment, team outfit and some cookies? ;)

  11. The Hamilton v Rosberg is closer than I think most would have predicted before the season. There’s no doubt that Rosberg has raised his stock by nipping at Hamilton’s heals. However, it should be noted that Hamilton was obviously uncomfortable in the car all year long. Hamilton is a finesse braker who lacked confidence in his brakes. That’s a huge impediment. I was at the hairpin at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this year (a track that Hamilton normally dominates at due to the premium placed on braking finesse) and it was obvious that Vettel and Alonso were able to go 3-5 meters deeper into the corner before jumping on the binders. That’s massive! Hamilton was losing all of his time during the braking phase which why he was couldn’t touch Vettel and couldn’t hold off Alonso.
    From a bird’s eye view you could actually argue that Hamilton raced poorly this year. However, keeping in mind the issue he was having with braking (the most critical phase of racing/overtaking/preventing overtake) his ability to stay with Rosberg in the standings in a car that Nico helped conceive is actually quite impressive.
    I rate Rosberg higher than I might have before ’13, but I have a feeling that next year’s Merc may balance out the playing field, handing Hamilton a decisive edge.

    1. @BogRacer I hear what you are saying about HAM and the importance of brake feel. However, ROS did a great job this year, when everyone, including I, thought he’d be beaten by HAM from day 1.
      It will be interesting to see if HAM will step it up next year, with 1 year under his belt at Merc. IMHO I think ROS will remain a tough team teammate in 2014 and it may be a defining year for HAM in many respects.

    2. Isn’t it kinda his fault that he couldn’t adapt to a different car? Or to give a proper feedback to his engineers? Every driver had a ton of issues with the car and setup this year, including Rosberg. And I don’t think that Hamilton drove badly this year, just Nico isn’t worse than him overall.

  12. Thanks for the stats man, very interesting. I think Grosjean is really gonna peak in the next few years, he has really impressed over this past year. Bottas aswell, absolutely trashed a more experienced, Maldonado. Unless the does something spectacular this year I would be happy to see the back of him

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