Your Biggest Rival is Your Teammate


It may not sound like a politically correct statement to make but in the world of Formula 1 it’s the uncompromising truth that every driver has got to learn to live with. On the tracks of Istanbul, during the dying moments of the Turkish GP, as Vettel took upon himself to teach his teammate Mark Webber the same lesson, Webber’s dream of consecutive dream wins was ruined very much like the tire of Vettel’s car was.

This adage is one of the hardest truths about the highly competitive world of F1. In fact the very system of racing is such that you can’t escape being your teammate’s biggest rival. Things get worse when both you and your teammate is either a former champion or a shoe-in for the running season.

Wondering why so?

Well consider this. Your achievement on the race track is more or less most of the times as good as your car is. Now driving the best car on the circuit, like Red Bull last weekend, implies you are racing to win the race and hopefully the championship. Now who else is driving the similar best car except you? No prizes for guessing, it’s your teammate.

Now consider this. Championship is moving towards the middle of the season. You look like one of the eventual champions considering you are at the top of points table. But going by the best car on the circuit theory your teammate can’t be far behind. What’s worse, he has exactly the same points as you do, except you are at the top since you have more race wins under your belt.

Now consider this. If such is the scenario what do you expect would happen? Well, two drivers knew the answer and thought they would demonstrate it to everyone’s benefit. Mark Webber was at the top of table with more wins and was ahead of the rest in the race – looked like he was heading for his third consecutive win. His teammate Vettel was having same number of points but second on table due to less number of wins and was tailing him to finish line.

In his honest attempt to win the race and prove the adage right (not to forget the pressure at his rear from Button) Vettel took the risk, drove a little too close to Webber, caused the tires from both the cars to brush. The result, Vettel says good bye to the race and Webber is forced to say good bye to another race win.

But that was not all that happened. Vettel while walking away from his car gestures to indicate as if Webber had lost his mind! And in the post race conference, the unlucky third place poor Webber tried his level best to hide his frustration at loosing out on what would have been another spectacular pole-to-win race for him. By trying very hard to not say anything against Vettel he said everything there was to say.

All said and done, cars may change every year in F1, drivers may come and go, teams may come and go, what stays is history, which was reiterated during Turkish GP. Once again it all boiled down to one single F1 fact, your biggest rival is your teammate!

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About Rohit Mishra

Quintessential Learner

15 responses to “Your Biggest Rival is Your Teammate”

  1. NIKHIL says :

    Well said–> Your biggest rival is your team mate and your biggest competitor should be you. It is the constant URGE to better yourself that will make you beat all your rivals………

  2. Rohan says :

    Nice example of the competition going beyond the sportsman spirit. Shows the weakness in someone’s personality and self confidence. I think its good to be competitive but not “cunningly” competitive. Because the cunningly competitive mind is just like a psycho’s with single track….”I won’t let others no matter whether I succeed !” So there is no expectation of success deep within, just an urge to restrain others somehow, from winning. Therefore, in my opinion such people seldom taste the success themselves, however they sometimes succeed in sabotaging others success.

    • Rohit Mishra says :

      You are absolutely right sir… And this “cunnigness” as you have put it, is more like a norm in not just Formula 1 but in our day-to-day life as well…But what can one do, though not good but that’s the way it is now…

  3. Sabba says :

    A perfect example of teammates failing to see greater good of team above their own interests and in the end loosing it all.,.,
    Actually this can be quoted as a compelling example to educate team members about advantages of teamwork.,.,

    • Rohit Mishra says :

      You are right Sabbe..and the nature of F1 is such that though team/constructor title is significant, the drivers usually give substantailly more importance to driver championship…in fact there was a time when team strategies revolved around one driver being the main driver (like Michael Schumacher) and the other playing (like Rubens Barichello) only a supporting role…

  4. Sabba says :

    and that was the golden time for Ferrari since their team was playing like a team

    • Rohit Mishra says :

      agreed..but at the cost of Barichello’s career to a large extent..and gave too much of importance to ensuring that Schumacher wins..were even penalized at times for taking it too far..

      • Sabba says :

        So that leads to another question of management injustice.,.,or their indulgence in looking at bigger picture.,.,whatever you may call it

      • Rohit Mishra says :

        In fact you are right Sabbe.. I guess I’ll share with you pretty soon how for long the F1 teams have played on similar and dissimilar strategies which have favored some drivers and “used” others.. they have had their own kind of “management justice”..

  5. Pankaj Khare says :

    nice one……..

  6. Karun says :

    nice dude………….

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