Following on from our analysis of the head-to-head record of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button over three years as McLaren, here the second in the series, analysing Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg’s similar stint at Mercedes.
Schumacher brought the curtain down on his Formula 1 career for the second time at last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix and in doing so ended a three-year and 58 race relationship with Mercedes alongside fellow German Nico Rosberg.
It would be fair to say the seven-time world champion’s comeback with the Silver Arrow didn’t quite go to plan. Throughout his career, Schumacher has consistently beaten his team-mate, but in Rosberg he found a younger, more formidable competitor.
And the chances of the 43-year-old delivering on his aim of trying to add to his seven world championships looked bleak as Rosberg comprehensively him in his first full season back in 2010 by 142 points to 72.
In all three seasons, Rosberg finished ahead of Schumacher in the drivers’ championship and in 2010 and 2012, Rosberg came close to scoring double the number of points of his more decorated team-mate. Schumacher was just 13 points behind in 2010 but overall Rosberg held the advantage with 324 points to 197.
Though the German produced an impressive drive to finish seventh and score points in Brazil, having found himself last and a lap down after picking up a puncture, he still trails Rosberg in overall points finishes – 31 v 39.
However, Schumacher can take some comfort in the fact that his results suffered as a result of a number of retirements, the majority of them mechanical, throughout his time with Mercedes. The elder German suffered 15 retirements compared to seven for Rosberg.
Schumacher lost out in terms of overall best race results excluding DNFs with 15 to Rosberg’s 22. That gap increases from seven to 13 if you include retirements.
Schumacher scored points in 72% of races that he completed, but Rosberg pips him there too with 76%.
It becomes bleaker reading for Schumacher when we turn out attention to qualifying. Discounting grid penalties, Rosberg ended qualifying with the faster lap time on 41 occasions to Schumacher’s 17 which equates to 71% of the time.
Schumacher achieved the quickest overall time once, in Monaco 2012, though he started sixth after a grid penalty. The German only ever started on the front row once which was in China when he was promoted from third to second as a result of a penalty for Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg started on pole once in China, which he converted into victory, and had one other front row start.
As you will see from the statistics below, Rosberg beat Schumacher in every category expect for DNFs to show the elder German was comprehensively beaten by his team-mate for the first time in his glittering career.
Rosberg v Schumacher stats compared (highest respective tally in bold)
Faster qualifying time: Rosberg 41 / Schumacher 17
Poles: Rosberg 1 / Schumacher 0
Front rows: Rosberg 2 / Schumacher 1
Wins: Rosberg 1 / Schumacher 0
Podiums: Rosberg 5 / Schumacher 1
Points finishes: Rosberg 39 / Schumacher 31
DNFs: Rosberg 7 / Schumacher 15
Best race result (inc DNFs): Rosberg 35 / Schumacher 22
Ahead in two-car finish: Rosberg 22 / Schumacher 15
Overall points: Rosberg 324 / Schumacher 197
Seasons finished higher in standings: Rosberg 3 / Schumacher 0
Highest championship placing: Rosberg 7th (2010, 2011) / Schumacher 8th (2011)
You can read all about both Mercedes drivers’ seasons in the JA on F1 2012 yearbook – The Year of Living Dangerously, which is published on December 7th priced at £10.99; it’s a 256 page large format paperback with stunning Darren Heath images and signed copies are available to order via our online shop now.