Formula One all time great driver matchups are few and far between. Fans of yesteryear will always wax lyrical over the 1988-89 season when the best of enemies Senna and Prost both drove for McLaren.
Senna clinched the title ahead of Prost in 1988 though the 1989 season saw one of the most famous races in Formula one history decide the title. Senna claimed pole in Suzuka though was jumped by Prost at the start who held the lead until late in the race.
Senna/Prost climatic last race
Senna, desperate to pass Prost to keep his championship hopes alive, tried to overtake him at the last chicane, but Prost closed the door and the two collided.
Senna stopped on track but received a push start from the marshals and re-entered the race circuit from a run off road, returned to the pits for a new wing and managed to claim the lead in the final laps.
Senna went on to win the race and potentially the title but was disqualified following a stewards enquiry that ruled he had re-entered the circuit illegally.
Button v Hamilton at McLaren
The most recent example of world champions as team mates in a competitive car was Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton during their three years together with McLaren (2010-2012).
Jenson’s claim to fame was outscoring his team mate over that time, although Lewis won the duel two seasons to one.
Button and Alonso also paired up for McLaren in 2015, but the car was woeful there were few sparks of competitive racing and then Jenson decided to retire.
Lance Stroll’s pre-season accident this year when he broken his wrists and a toe held out the tantalising prospect of an Alonso/Vettel battle in like for like Aston Martin’s in Bahrain. While the Aston Martin team kept the fans on tenterhooks for a day or two, the call to Sebastian was never made.
Drunken Hamilton lets off steam
Red Bull battles between Vettel and Webber
For Red Bull, at times the Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel duo created some great F1 moments, not least the Multi-21 battle in Malaysia and the huge crash between the pair at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix.
Mercedes at present have a tantalising pair of drivers as the young gun George Russell dethroned the old hand Hamilton during their first season racing together. Russell is also 3-0 up in the qualifying head to head so far this year.
Yet another great matchup and more recent than all the rest is sometimes forgotten. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen raced together at Red Bull from 2016-2018.
Verstappen was racing for the Red Bull junior team during races 1-4 but was then promoted to replace they ailing Daniil Kvyat alongside Ricciardo for the rest of the year.
Ricciardo beats Verstappen 2016 & ’17
Despite Verstappen winning his very first race in the Red Bulls at the Spanish GP, Ricciardo was comfortably ahead of his team mate by some 52 points at the seasons end.
Ricciardo again defeated Verstappen over the course of the 2017 season again finishing ahead of his junior hot shot team mate but by just 32 points this time around.
The tables were turned in 2018 and what many believe to be a defining moment for Ricciardo came during that season’s race in Baku.
Both Red Bull drivers had pitted on lap 35 for the ultra soft tyre and Verstappen had overtaken Ricciardo thanks to the under cut at the pit stops.
Nightmare in Baku
Then on lap 40 Ricciardo (P5) had a run on Verstappen (P4) down the main straight and Max made a late defensive move to cover off the overtake. The pair had a huge collision and both were eliminated from the race
The fall out left Ricciardo feeling he was blamed by the team for the accident and its highly likely this was the reason he decided to leave at the end of the year.
Yet Daniel and Max have remained firm friends and of course the ‘Honey Badger’ returned to the Red Bull fold this season as the team’s reserve drivers.
With the reputed bad blood developing between Verstappen and Perez over the closing rounds of last year, the recruitment of Ricciardo raised questions as to Red Bull’s intentions.
Ricciardo poor form still puzzles
The team have struggled since Ricciardo left to fill the seat alongside Verstappen with a driver capable of being close to matching the Dutch drivers’ form.
Ricciardo’s poor results at McLaren still creates debates in the paddock as to whether the Woking built car was just a handful to drive or was it Ricciardo who had lost form?
Whilst Red Bull can evaluate Ricciardo’s current abilities in their simulator and measure it against their other drivers’ performance – it will only be when Ricciardo gets on track the team can truly know if he’s the driver tag previously pushed Verstappen to the limit.
Hamilton lashes out at FIA regulations
Horner reveals Ricciardo to test RB19
Christian Horner now reveals Ricciardo is is back with vengeance and set for a test drive in the RB19 soon.
“He’s sitting in all the briefings, he’s been working hard on the simulator as well in the UK doing some race support and some development work on that.”
“Daniel’s just a positive energy to have around and it’s great to see him getting his mojo back, to see that big smile on his face, and he lights up a room when he walks in.”
“For us, it’s just positive to have him in the team, contributing to the team, to the drivers, to the engineering team. And hopefully, he’ll rediscover his love for the sport. He’ll do a bit of testing for us later in the year and we’ll see how that goes for him.”
The next Pirelli tyre tests are scheduled for the days following the Spanish GP and for Ricciardo to drive the current Red Bull car within the regulations he would have to do so at such a Pirelli organised test.
READ MORE: Hamilton to Ferrari analysed
Oh, what a night. Early April, back in 2014.
What a very special time for Mercedes.
As we remember, what a night… 😜 pic.twitter.com/gjgBoSPCmj
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 6, 2023