As Formula One has shown us time and time again over the years, you need to be ruthless and calculating to come out on top with the nice guys of the track rarely winning the sport’s biggest prize – sorry David Coulthard.
Current World Champions Lewis Hamilton certainly has that necessary mean streak in his locker and, though the 30-year-old will have plenty of fans watch at home and in the stands in
Melbourne this weekend, he’s not the most popular driver to take to the track.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to rehash five of the Brit’s most infamous rivalries which serve to highlight the killer instinct that has seen him take pole position on so many occasions over the years.
Lewis Hamilton v Jenson Button
The British pair may be on better terms now, but from 2010 to 2012 the pair went head-to-head as teammates at McLaren, keeping things friendly enough in the process.
Though Hamilton scored more points in two of the three seasons they both raced for the same team, the campaign sandwiched in between saw Button come out on top – it remains the only time he has finished second to a teammate over a season, trailing his rival by 43 points.
Lewis Hamilton v Fernando Alonso
For one single season back in 2007, Hamilton and Alonso lined up as teammates at McLaren with the combination proving volatile at the best of times.
The Spaniard felt his teammate enjoyed favourable backing and fell out spectacularly with team boss Ron Dennis. McLaren missed out on the title, with Alonso convinced the team had pushed to make the more inexperienced Hamilton a serious contender. He returned to Renault the following year.
Lewis Hamilton v Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton found himself in hot water once again in 2011, after clashing with Sebastian Vettel, who was on course to claim what would be a the second of four consecutive world titles.
Angry words were exchanged in the build-up to the Malaysian Grand Prix with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner claiming the German and Brit could not work together as team-mates.
Hamilton responded by questioning the German’s attitude towards defeat: “The only reason I would imagine he would suggest that is because certain individuals don’t like being beaten.
Lewis Hamilton v Kimi Raikkonen
Rivals for the Championship back in 2008, things between this pairing got heated after an absorbing encounter at Spa-Francorchamps.
Neck and neck for the lead, Hamilton appeared to cut out a chicane in his bid to overtake Raikkonen.
Though he won the race, Hamilton was docked 25 seconds, despite his protestations.
“Kimi left me no room,” he said.
“I didn’t want to crash and had no choice but to go over the kerbs…”
Lewis Hamilton vs. Nico Rosberg
Major rivals for the world championship last season, one major flashpoint came at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Hamilton coming out on top in a notable duel that had Rosberg claiming his McLaren teammate had gone “over the line” with one move on lap 18.
Hamilton was full of fighting talk though, claiming later that he would try to break down his rival mentally.
“Break me down mentally?” he said. “I think he will struggle with that one.”
In the end, however, Hamilton had the last laugh.
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