Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Luke Rees
There have been numerous high profile sporting rivalries throughout history – Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe, Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier, and of course, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost (to name a few).
But what makes Formula 1 slightly more interesting, is that rivalries can form within teams: between 1988 and 1989, Prost and Senna were both driving McLaren, whilst also competing against each other for the top position.
Egos are also sky high in Formula 1 Racing and frequently take precedent over the team effort. Just look at Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – Hamilton signed with Mercedes in 2013, joining his old racing kart friend, Nico Rosberg. And although everything started out nice and friendly, it’s since descended into a fierce feud: as the German said in an interview, “the more success we have, the tougher it is.”
The Go Karting Days
Hamilton met on the go-kart track when they were just 14 years old, and even back then there was competition, with both wanting to win. In the hotels they shared between races, they would wrestle each other in the rooms: “It was so competitive between us,” Rosberg said, “It’s the same today.”
Both dreamed of one day making it big in Formula 1 racing. For Nico, this was more certain, seeing as his father was himself an F1 driver (world champion in 1982), but for Hamilton it has been less so: “We were talking about how cool it would be, one day, if we were in Formula 1, just how cool it would be to be team-mates. We said it several times,” said Hamilton.
But now that they are team mates, racing has become much more about business and less about childhood dreams. This has, of course, led to strains on the boyhood relationship that once was.
How Hamilton and Rosberg Differ
Although both neck-and-neck on the racing track, this certainly isn’t the case off the track. Hamilton – brought up on a council estate in Stevenage the son of a British Rail worker – and Rosberg – raised in Monaco – both have very different personalities, which is evident when you take a look at their differing lifestyles.
While Hamilton courts fame and lives the rock star lifestyle, Rosberg’s life is much more family-orientated. Although both are aged 30, Rosberg appears more quiet and settled – instead of schmoozing on the red carpet with celebrities, or hanging out with celebrities in Beverly Hills, Rosberg says he likes nothing more than cosying up with his wife, Vivian, and dog over a good documentary. The couple even have their own bio-garden, from which they gather fresh fruit and vegetables to make smoothies.
Naturally, there is a link between personal and racing life, which has been likened to that of Senna and Prost. Hamilton takes on the role of Senna, the bold, intuitively talented racer who goes all out for victory, while Rosberg is more like ‘Professor’ Prost – a man whose consistency and calculation brought reward.
Can They Reconcile Their Differences?
Zak Brown, an F1 marketing and sponsorship executive, say that Lewis Hamilton is on the road to becoming one of the world’s biggest ever sporting personalities, even as big as Tiger Woods. With his personal appearance, constant jet-setting and growing affiliation with A-list celebrities, Brown said Hamilton is cultivating a “rock star status“.
He has already matched the title record of Ayrton Senna, his hero, and he looks in no way close to stopping his dominance in the sport. He is also one of the front runners for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Rosberg, the quieter of the two, pipped Hamilton to the finish line at the Mexican Grand Prix – his first victory in four months. Hamilton was not happy, that was clear to see by all.
Should Rosberg be able to keep the momentum and Mercedes maintain their substantial advantage in 2016, can these two opposite figures maintain some kind of relationship, or will it turn completely sour as the desire for more glory intensifies?