Same car, different results - the battle of the team mates 29 Jun 2007
With seven Grands Prix done and dusted - and ten still to run - we thought it was time to take stock and look at which drivers have the upper hand over their respective team mates so far this season
McLaren - Fernando Alonso v Lewis Hamilton
Hamiltons successful start to the season has surprised many, not least Alonso. The world champion has never really felt challenged by a team mate before, but in rookie Hamilton, it appears he may have finally have met his match. Though the Spaniard has retained something of an edge in qualifying, his advantage is diminishing, as Hamilton recently proved with two consecutive poles. While the young British driver has left every race clutching a trophy, Alonsos form has been much more haphazard. Indeed his seventh-place finish in Montreal was his lowest classification since 2005. Alonso remains a tough competitor, but the young pretenders current advantage has certainly rattled him. Only time will tell if Hamilton has enough to steal Alonsos crown.
Qualifying: Alonso (4-3)
Race: Hamilton (4-3)
Points: Alonso 48, Hamilton 58.
Ferrari - Felipe Massa v Kimi Raikkonen
Despite his years apprenticeship under Michael Schumacher last season, Massa was seen as Ferraris underdog for 2007, with incoming driver Kimi Raikkonen tipped for success. In Australia, where Raikkonen enjoyed pole and race win, this certainly seemed to be the case, but the Finns early victory remains his greatest achievement to date for the Maranello squad. Though McLarens MP4-22 certainly has the edge over the F2007, by and large when Ferrari have glimpsed victory, it has been Massa who has seized the opportunity, while Raikkonen has looked on from the wings. The Finn must up his game soon if he is to avoid more disappointment.
Qualifying: Massa (5-2)
Race: Massa (4-3)
Points: Massa 39, Raikkonen 32.
BMW Sauber - Nick Heidfeld v Robert Kubica
In light of his storming debut in 2006, many expected Robert Kubica to upstage Nick Heidfeld at BMW Sauber this year. The reality, however, has played out very differently. Though the F1.07 is widely regarded as one of the top three cars on the grid, Kubica has finished no higher than fifth all season. In comparison, Heidfelds performances have been so consistent that the German is currently enjoying the best season of his Formula One career. Yes, Kubicas opening races were marred by ill-timed qualifying laps and troublesome reliability; and he did manage to claw back some points in Bahrain, Spain and Monaco. But with his catastrophic accident in Montreal, followed by his exclusion on health grounds from the Indianapolis race, Kubica is fast falling behind. Once he returns the Pole will have his work cut out if he is to curb Heidfelds advantage.
Qualifying: Heidfeld (6-1)
Race: Heidfeld (4-2)Heidfeld retired in United States, while Kubica did not start due to Canadian accident.
Points: Heidfeld 26, Kubica 12.
Renault - Giancarlo Fisichella v Heikki Kovalainen
The 2007 season is widely regarded as critical for Giancarlo Fisichellas Formula One career. With a rookie instead of a world champion for a team mate and with the title-winning Renault squad behind him, Fisichella seemed perfectly placed to restore his reputation. He has not disappointed. Out-qualifying and out-racing the younger Heikki Kovalainen, Fisichella has stamped his authority on the French team, even though the R27s shortcomings have prevented him making much of a mark on the title race. Kovalainen, meanwhile, initially seemed to flounder. But after some harsh words from team boss Flavio Briatore and improved performances at the past two events, the Finn has made a strong recovery. Now just one point down on Fisichella, Kovalainen has certainly upped the ante. The victor of this battle remains very much undecided.
Qualifying: Fisichella (5-2)
Race: Fisichella (4-3)
Points: Fisichella 13, Kovalainen 12.
Williams - Alexander Wurz v Nico Rosberg
When news broke that testing stalwart Alexander Wurz would make a return to racing with Williams in 2007, many questioned Frank Williams decision. Paired with one of the brightest young drivers on the grid, Nico Rosberg, some thought Wurz would crumble. The Austrian, however, seems to have had other ideas. Not content to be a foil to his younger team mates emerging talent, Wurz is leading Rosberg by three points and even secured the team their first podium since May 2005. But its not all been rosy for Wurz. Though clearly not race-rusty, he is struggling to match Rosbergs qualifying pace. While the German has scored four top-ten grid slots, Wurz has been unable to do better than 11th.
Qualifying: Rosberg (7-0)
Race: Wurz (4-3)
Points: Wurz 8, Rosberg 5.
Toyota - Jarno Trulli v Ralf Schumacher
Out-pacing team mate Ralf Schumacher in every qualifying session and all but two races, Jarno Trulli has been Toyotas man to beat this season. While Schumacher has struggled with the TF107, Trulli has made the best of the situation to score seven points and make it into Q3 on six occasions. The German, meanwhile, has only managed to get through to the third qualifying bout twice, and on three occasions has failed to even make it past the first. Both have retired twice, but Trulli has so far proved the more dependable driver.
Qualifying: Trulli (7-0)
Race: Trulli (4-2) Neither driver finished in Australia.
Points: Trulli 7, Schumacher 2.
Red Bull - David Coulthard v Mark Webber
Boasting over 300 Grand Prix starts between them, David Coulthard and Mark Webbers partnership represents one of the most-experienced line-ups on the 2007 grid. As such, they appear pretty evenly matched on race pace, though Webber remains as dominant as ever in terms of qualifying. Even in last years uncompetitive Williams FW28 Webber put in some great Saturday laps, and this season is proving no different.
Qualifying: Webber (6-1)
Race: Webber (4-2) Neither driver finished in Bahrain.
Points: Coulthard 4, Webber 2.
Super Aguri - Takuma Sato v Anthony Davidson
The grids perennial underdogs, Super Aguri, have exceeded expectations this season to not only make it through to the third stage of qualifying but to also score points. Though the honours in both cases fell to incumbent driver Takuma Sato, the impact of new signing Anthony Davidson should not be overlooked. Despite a slow start the British driver has largely matched Satos pace, and with Satos penalty in France relegating him ten-places back on the grid, it may well be Davidsons turn to shine in Magny-Cours this weekend.
Qualifying: Sato (4-3)
Race: Sato (5-2)
Points: Sato 4, Davidson 0.
Toro Rosso - Scott Speed v Vitantonio Liuzzi
Though Vitantonio Liuzzi has a clear advantage on Saturdays, race comparisons at Toro Rosso are much harder thanks to the STR2s poor reliability. On just one occasion, in Malaysia, have both cars made it to the finish-line. That time it was Scott Speed who finished ahead, 14th to Liuzzis 17th. The Italians shortfall at Sepang, however, can be explained by his extra-long pit stop for a new nosecone. The jurys still out on this one.
Qualifying: Liuzzi (6-1)
Race: Speed (3-1) Neither driver finished in Bahrain, Spain or Canada.
Points: Speed 0, Liuzzi 0.
Honda - Rubens Barrichello v Jenson Button
For a team that was one of 2006s best of the rest, Hondas fall from grace this season has been as swift and as it has been calamitous. With the RA107 struggling so much, it is hard to determine whether Barrichello or Button holds the advantage. Though the Brazilian has out-qualified the Briton in all but the last round at Indianapolis, neither has made it higher up the grid than ninth. Its a similar story during Sundays action. Yes, Barrichello has retired less and finished higher than his English counterpart in six races, but neither has scored points or finished better than tenth. Rather than beating their team mate, by far the biggest challenge both face will be to eek more out of the erratic RA107.
Qualifying: Barrichello (4-3)
Race: Barrichello (6-1)
Points: Barrichello 0, Button 0.
Spyker - Adrian Sutil v Christian Albers
Though it will come as little surprise that Spyker have been unable to score any points so far this season, less expected was just how quickly rookie Adrian Sutil has been able to upstage Christijan Albers, his more experienced team mate. At every round except Malaysia, Sutil has out-qualified Albers, while even during his Sunday outings the young German has out-classed his older Dutch team mate on pace, consistently clocking the teams fastest laps, despite having only driven on two of the five circuits before. Though Sutils mistakes, especially during the races, show he still has a lot to learn, he has also shined when it counted (notably topping the timesheets during a wet final practice in Monte Carlo). As a result there has been plenty of talk in the paddock over Albers future with the squad. His experience counts for a lot, but Albers must act quickly if he is not to find himself totally overshadowed by Sutil.
Qualifying: Sutil (6-1)
Race: Albers (3-2) Neither driver finished in Bahrain or Canada.
Points: Sutil 0, Albers 0.