George Russell is the most dominant Formula One teammate of the modern era

George Russell has a better record of beating his teammate than any driver who has started at least 50 races in the last 40 years, Pennsylvania News Agency analysis reveals.

Russell, who is outpacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes so far in 2022, has finished ahead of his team-mate in 49 of his 69 Grands Prix since making his 2019 debut.

His 71 per cent success rate is better than that of all the leading drivers since the early 1980s, when constructors were first limited to a maximum of two cars.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen is next on the list, having finished ahead of his teammate in 97 of his 150 races to date (65 per cent), ahead of Fernando Alonso (65 per cent), Michael Schumacher (63 percent) and Hamilton (61 percent).

(PA graph)

Russell destined for greatness?

While much of Russell’s early success came towards the back of the grid, when he was beating Robert Kubica and Nicholas Latifi at Williams, his performances against Hamilton bode well for future title challenges.

The 24-year-old Briton has beaten seven-time world champion Hamilton in seven of nine races in 2022, finishing in the top five each time.

Russell leads his compatriot by 34 points in the championship, which is the biggest cushion a team-mate has enjoyed over Hamilton heading into the British Grand Prix.

This is all the more impressive given Hamilton’s overall record against his team-mates, who include three former world champions in Alonso, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.

fernando alonso and lewis hamilton

Alonso was a two-time defending world champion when he teamed up with Hamilton at McLaren in 2007 (David Davies/PA)

Hamilton has come out on top 182 times in 297 Grands Prix, with his tally of race wins and pole positions (both 103) around double that of his team-mates: 45 and 52 respectively.

Among the former team-mates, only Alonso has a winning record over Hamilton when driving the same car, in what was the Briton’s debut season in F1.

Alonso, a two-time defending champion at the time, beat Hamilton in 10 of 17 races when they were both at McLaren in 2007. Despite this, the two finished the campaign level on 109 points, both missing out on the title by a single point. for Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

If Russell were to maintain his form and finish above Hamilton in the championship, he would be only the third driver to achieve the feat, after Button in 2011 and Rosberg in 2016.

Is it better to have one dominant driver or two evenly matched teammates?

Hamilton is used to doing things his way, having dominated his previous partnership with Valtteri Bottas, the most successful of all time in terms of race wins.

Hamilton claimed 50 of his 60 combined Grand Prix victories between 2017 and 2021, two more than the 58 achieved by Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello during their six-year spell as teammates at Ferrari.

(PA graph)

(PA graph)

The longest-lasting partnerships tend to be one-sided, with one driver number one and one driver number two.

Hamilton and Bottas raced 100 times as teammates, with the Briton winning five times as many races as the Finn.

Hamilton has often hailed Bottas as his greatest teammate, having won four world championship trophies in their time together.

Similarly, Schumacher and Barrichello raced together 104 times, with the German racking up 49 Grand Prix wins to Barrichello’s nine, as well as five world titles.

Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello on the podium

Schumacher usually finished ahead of Barrichello when they were teammates at Ferrari (Tom Hevezi/PA)

Among other enduring duos, Mika Hakkinen won twice as many races as David Coulthard in their 99 races together at McLaren, while Sebastian Vettel dominated his 94-race partnership with Mark Webber at Red Bull.

Although this type of pairing is the longest lasting, it is not necessarily the most successful.

Early signs at Mercedes in 2022 suggest that Hamilton and Russell are racing on equal terms, which is more comparable to Bottas’ predecessor Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Hamilton and Rosberg were not always on good terms during their four seasons together at Mercedes (David Davies/PA)

Hamilton and Rosberg shared 54 wins between 2013 and 2016, but close competition and on-track incidents have strained their relationship.

Their partnership was much more even than Bottas’, with the German winning 22 races to Hamilton’s 32 and even managing to snatch a world title in 2016.

(PA graph)

(PA graph)

The bickering between the two was reminiscent of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren in the late 1980s, which is the greatest driver pairing of all time based on winning percentage.

Senna and Prost won 25 races out of 32 (78 per cent) over two seasons together, each taking a world title and Senna outscoring Prost 14-11 in Grand Prix wins.

Despite his success, the relationship turned toxic and Prost left for Ferrari in 1990.

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