How F1 Teammates Compared in 2018 Qualifying
Every Formula One driver’s top goal is to beat their teammate. They are the only other driver on the grid with the same machinery, making them the only true benchmark. It’s how teams assess who they should prioritize during a season, and who they should seek to contract in the future.
Below, we’ll take a look at how teammates fared against each other in the 2018 qualifying battle. Who dominated their teammates? Who will hope to forget about the season altogether?
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By the summer break, Bottas was keeping up with Hamilton — one of the sport’s best-ever qualifiers — with a 6-5 record in favor of the champion. But Bottas could only beat him once more after that, and Hamilton finished the season with 11 pole positions, bringing his career total to a record 83.
Räikkönen hasn’t had the measure of his teammate in qualifying since his time at Lotus, and 2018 was no different. This is the third biggest qualifying gap between teammates this year and Räikkönen managed to secure only one pole position all year, at Monza, while Vettel nabbed five. Vettel will have a tougher opponent in Leclerc next year.
This is likely one of the most surprising head-to-head scores of the season. In 2016 and 2017, Verstappen and Ricciardo were both very closely matched. It’s hard to say how much of this has to do with Verstappen stepping up his game or Ricciardo losing his motivation after too many engine-related retirements and announcing he would change teams for 2019.
Sainz was one of the most highly rated drivers of 2017 and many believed he would have the measure of Hülkenberg at Renault, but the opposite proved true. Nonetheless, this was a very close battle, and Sainz was also behind Renault’s best results with a fifth place qualifying in Hungary and reaching twice as many Q3 sessions as his teammate.
Grosjean came back from a 7-3 deficit to Magnussen and turned out on top by the end of the season to make this one of the closest matchups of the year. Consistency seems to be an issue for both of these drivers, making it difficult to gauge which one is capable of the most raw speed.
After a strong 2017, Ocon managed to thoroughly beat his highly-rated teammate in 2018, yet he’ll be the one without a drive next year. He even managed to qualify third at the Belgian Grand Prix, the best result by any driver not driving for one of the top three teams.
This is a strange one. Alonso is no doubt one of the best drivers of his generation, yet as a rookie in 2017, Vandoorne had managed to come close to the two-time champion, and had been continually improving throughout the year. Yet in 2018 it was as though he had taken a major step backward. He was thoroughly demolished and will not be returning for 2019. What happened? It’s hard to believe this is an accurate representation of the difference in speed between the two drivers, but without more information, the only conclusion is that Vandoorne was totally outclassed.
Leclerc was hailed as a potential future champion before he had even sat in an F1 car, and he proved his reputation from the onset. He utterly trounced Ericsson in qualifying and even managed to qualify for Q3 seven times. It’s no surprise he was promoted to Ferrari, where he’ll have to prove himself again, this time against a four-time world champion.
Gasly was comfortably ahead of Hartley throughout the season, making it to the top 10 six times to Hartley’s two. It’s hard to say whether that’s down to brilliance on the part of Gasly or underperformance on the part of Hartley, but we’ll see which one it’s more likely to be when Gasly faces off against Verstappen next year.
Finally, Williams. Few had high expectations for Sirotkin, who was believed to have secured his 2018 season over Robert Kubica thanks to his better sponsors. That he beat Lance Stroll by a small margin was unfortunately not to his credit either, as Stroll is one of the least able drivers on the grid. Both drivers would have wanted to beat the other by a very large margin, and both have come off looking worse by being so evenly matched.
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