We’ve seen some incredible rivalries on the track for the Drivers’ World Championship over the years, with the most recent battles between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull making for some heated championship races. Perhaps the most captivating of the Mercedes vs Red Bull era, however, came in the 2016 season, when Nico Rosberg broke Hamilton’s winning streak while racing on the same team.
It made for some incredible exchanges in the pit lane, on the track, and in the waiting room for the podium, becoming firmly entrenched in the history books as one of the greatest F1 rivalries. Other superb in-team rivalries include the 88/89 rivalry between legends Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren, 90’s Nigel Mansell against Prost at Ferrari, and even Mark Webber against Vettel at Red Bull from 2009 to 2013.
While they likely won’t be contending for the crown, there are several teams that look to have created some potentially thrilling rivalries within their own ranks. These are the in-team rivalries to watch heat up over the course of 2023, especially as a couple of them may lay the foundations for greater clashes down the line.
Closest head-to-heads create the best rivalries
The best in-team rivalries tend to come when two drivers are matched well in terms of talent or ambition and the team hasn’t selected its go-to number one either due to this level-pegging or as they’re not contending for the title. In the very first race of the season, we saw five duos from the same teams qualify next to each other on the grid, but this qualifying round isn’t the only way to see the bubbling rivalries.
In the head-to-head markets, it’s much easier to get a speculative look at how close the in-team rivalries are expected to be over the course of the season. There’s a whole stack of in-team H2H odds to show which teammate is expected to finish higher than the other. Using this, we’ve homed in on the teams where the two racers are the most similarly matched to see where friction and competition could be at their highest.
On the F1 betting site with fast and free payouts and a $400 welcome bonus, the Driver H2H markets that stand out are those between the racers at Haas, Mercedes, and AlphaTauri. These pit Kevin Magnussen against Nicolas Hulkenberg, George Russell against Lewis Hamilton, and Nyck de Vries against Yuki Tsunoda.
Exploring the potential of these in-team rivalries
Easily the most exciting of these is the Russell vs Hamilton potential rivalry at Mercedes. There isn’t any doubt that number 44 isn’t ready to hang up his helmet or give way to the future F1 star, and Russell got a taste of triumph in his superb debut season for Mercedes. One can’t help but draw comparisons between Hamilton’s years at McLaren with Jenson Button, especially as Red Bull was the one to beat at the time, too.
Still, with Hamilton at -165 to finish ahead of Russell (+125) in the final standings, the oddsmakers are predicting the former champion to maintain his hold further up the grid. The closest of these potential rivalries comes at Haas, where Magnussen is at -110 to finish above the -120 Hülkenberg. Clearly, the bookies are split here, but given that the Dane secured pole last year and has finished on the podium while the German still seeks his first podium finish, it’d be fair to side with Magnussen getting the edge.
At AlphaTauri, the now-reliable car should offer a fairly level playing field for Tsunoda and the 2021 Formula E world champion, De Vries. What it should come down to is who has the better racecraft and is able to minimize mistakes. Clean racing is what’s wanted, and the odds side with the Japanese racer at -210 to win this potentially heated battle – especially as performance looks to be the main question.
Mercedes, AlphaTauri, and Haas might just be staging the most interesting of the in-team battles this season, and it’ll be interesting to not only see which driver comes out on top but if the team starts to side with one over the other.