F1 Racing - - CHEQUERED FLAG -

Just as Fan­gio and Collins were true team­mates so were Fan­gio and Stir­ling Moss in the all-con­quer­ing 1955 Mercedes-Benz team. Moss was con­tent to learn by cir­cu­lat­ing so close to Fan­gio that the re­doubtable Mercedes team man­ager Al­fred Neubauer wor­ried they’d col­lide – although they never did. Two years on, at the Bri­tish GP when race-leader Moss hit trou­ble, his team-mate Tony Brooks will­ingly pit­ted his car to let Stir­ling take over. Their re­ward was the first-ever win for Bri­tish driv­ers in a Bri­tish car at the Bri­tish GP.

When you’re a rac­ing driver, you’re there to win and the first per­son you have to beat is your team-mate. But even with such in­tense ri­valry it is still pos­si­ble to be com­pet­i­tive and re­main friends. Senna may not have got on with Prost but he cer­tainly did with Ger­hard Berger – maybe be­cause he feared Alain more than Ger­hard so be­came ob­sessed with beat­ing him.

In 1978, the fa­bled black and gold Lo­tus 79, driven by Mario An­dretti and Ron­nie Peter­son, was dom­i­nant, but although Ron­nie was at least as fast as Mario he, like Moss in 1955, du­ti­fully fol­lowed his team leader rather than risk a col­li­sion and there was no en­mity be­tween them. And one of the most am­i­ca­ble F1 part­ner­ships of all was that of 1973 team-mates Jackie Ste­wart and François Cev­ert. Sir Jackie ac­knowl­edges that, by the end of the year, the French­man was his equal but Cev­ert, like Collins be­fore him, was happy to wait. Sadly, again like Collins, he was killed be­fore achiev­ing the cham­pi­onship that would almost cer­tainly have been his.

Another ex­am­ple of the way driv­ers of equal abil­ity can com­pete against each other with­out re­crim­i­na­tion is that of Jody Scheck­ter and Gilles Vil­leneuve, Fer­rari team-mates in 1979, who raced with­out ac­ri­mony to the end of the sea­son with Scheck­ter win­ning the ti­tle thanks to Vil­leneuve de­fer­ring to him at Monza.

So where does all this leave us now? Are Hamil­ton and Ros­berg more like Senna and Prost or Scheck­ter and Vil­leneuve? What­ever, we fans must be for­ever grate­ful that their Mercedes team bosses let them fight it out on the race track. This has been one of the most ex­cit­ing sea­sons I can re­mem­ber, and who­ever takes the hon­ours – be it Lewis or Nico – they will truly de­serve it.

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