Brawn believes Mercedes have the best driver pairing in F1 in Hamilton and Rosberg
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Mar 2013   |  5:54 pm GMT  |  160 comments

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn believes his outfit have the best driver line-up in Formula 1 in Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The Brackley-based team signed Hamilton to replace seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher alongside Rosberg.

Though the car struggled to score points towards the end of last season, Mercedes have shown good pace in testing.

Rosberg set the fastest time of winter testing in Barcelona, with Hamilton clocking the third best.

And Brawn believes Rosberg, who made his debut for Williams in 2006, has stepped up his performances after spending three years as Schumacher’s team-mate.

“If we are honest, Nico proved himself against Michael,” said Brawn. “I think Nico is going to have a fresh benchmark in terms of Lewis and I expect them to be very close.

“I don’t expect a big difference between either of them, but that is to be proven. It is a big challenge for him to have someone as quick and capable as Lewis in the other car.

“Nico has met some massive challenges, ones that he had with Michael, and I expect him to hold his end up very well.

“I actually think we have got the best driver pairing in F1. They will push each other very hard.”

Brawn added that Hamilton has settled in well since joining the team this season.

“When someone of the status of Michael leaves a team, that is a very big hole to fill. But Lewis is filling it perfectly in his own style, he said.

“I don’t want a clone of Michael. I want somebody who does it their own way.

“Lewis has brought a fresh gloss to the team and the way he is working with the engineers. I am delighted with the way it has gone so far.”

Which team do you think has the best driver pairing in Formula 1?

Do you agree with Brawn that it is Hamilton and Rosberg at Mercedes? What about three-time reigning champions Red Bull’s line-up of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber?

Or perhaps Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at Ferrari, the new pairing of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez at McLaren or Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean at Lotus?

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment on this story.  

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Those who obviously have a problem with Lewis need to cast their minds back to Lewis’s first year when in the China race he was robbed of a win by McLaren when they left him out on the track for too long on worn tyres despite advice from Bridgestone, and he then became stuck in a gravel trap as he came into the pit lane. And then in Brazil when he was still leading team mate Alonso for the title he was robbed of points when his gearbox gave trouble and he coasted for about half a minute before recovering into P8 and to a WDC position only to be robbed again when Ferrari had their drivers change position on the track to allow Raikkonen to take the WDC.


I remember Ross saying the same thing when he had Jenson and Rubens……. blah blah blah


If only the teams would let Vettel and Hamilton swap cars for a session! TV pay them loads of money and get them to do it.


red bull, please put us out of our misery and sign hamilton to parner vettel after his mercedes contract runs out after 2015.


1 Hamilton + 1 Rosberg = 3/4 of an Alonso.


Kimi & Lewis would be the absolute and ultimate fastest line up.


I think the best pair are:

– Alonso + Massa (from 2008-2009), hope Massa is now at least 95% from 2008 form !

– Vettel + Webber (when Webber races and not just driving home)

“If we are honest, Nico proved himself against Michael,” said Brawn. “I think Nico is going to have a fresh benchmark in terms of Lewis and I expect them to be very close.”

If Nico == 43 year’s old MS (remember in 2012, the classification score was 10:10 and in races 7:3 in MS favour where both finishes) and if Nico is close to Lewis, then logically -> Lewis just a bit better or equal to 43 year’s MS after 3 years retirement.

It’s very interesting if Nico has upper hand to Lewis for several races, how we should compare Lewis and MS ???


Kimi and Grosjean for me, in fact I think Grosjean will win, he is super fast if somewhat fragile.


Quite interesting to see Mercedes new No2 drivers struggling to keep up with Rosberg already, even to the tune of .3 of a second forcing him into a crashing error.

Still though just like at Mclaren he will serve the position of No2 just fine i think.


In terms of their respective abilities when performing at their best, I’d say Brawn is right. But I’d rather have Alonso and A.N.Other or Vettel plus A.N.Other. Rosberg is a bit meh and Hamilton will periodically go off the rails.


That is not so easy to say. Lets consider…

McLaren- because they have Button. That means quality. Perez didn’t look too bad either.

Merc- Rosberg. Knows how to behave.

Ferrari- They have Alonso.

Red Bull- only because of Webber’s honest mouth.

Lotus- Raikkonen’s honest mouth and speed.

So the winner is Lotus. McLaren 10 seconds behind, Ferrari +40. Red Bull +2 laps. Mercedes didn’t pass scrutineering.


Without looking closely, Nico looks too much like Jb in that photo. Maybe it is because both are blond and taller than Hamilton, and the focus naturally is on Hamilton as he is the No1 driver.


Lewis will be much faster this year. I believe Nico will drop off in performance mid season, most of Nico’s champioship points is scored in the first half of the season. Lewis has the capacity to challenge right to the end.

Schumacher should have been there next to Lewis!


Ross is probably bang on….but in my perfect world,I’d have Hamilton and Rosberg in Ferraris.

We still haven’t seen what Nico can do in a front running car, as he’s never had one.

Webber and Massa have had championship winning cars and didn’t win it.

Kimi is a proven quantity, Grosjean isn’t but has massive potential…the gap from hero to zero is millimetres.


Vettel/Webber is the best driver pairing on the gird.

Massa is still yet to prove he is capable of performing consistently and win races after his form slump. Likewise Perez.

Hamilton is clearly one of the top drivers in F1, but while Rosberg was able to win last year, he is also yet to really mix in a World Championship. Admitedly that’s because of the car, but until he does that it’s very hard to look past the Vettel Webber combination.

The most interesting driver pairings would be Kimi/ Vettel or Kimi/Hamilton. Whoever you think is the best out of Hamilton/Vettel/Alonso I dont think they would mix well together. After Alonso’s year in 2007, I don’t think he’d mix well with anyone who could threaten his No. 1 status. Likewise Vettel has a habbit of throwing the toys of the cot. What makes Kimi great is that he just doesn’t care about the politics. I think that would make him less antagonistic with whover he was paired with.


It was great fun though, wasn’t it? (2007, I mean) Drama is what we as F1 fans long for. I for one would love to see a two-rooster battle again (either ALO-VET or HAM-VET; we’ve seen ALO-HAM). I doubt we’ll ever get to see it, but it would be something.

You think there’s a lot of (digital) ink spilled writing about the F1 stories we have today??? Imagine if it was HAM and VET in RBR heading into this season? The Interweb would grow another 10%!


2007 puts Lewis above Alonso IMHO. So in an unscientific game to set the order straight, I’d love to see ALO-VET (I guess in such a pairing, ALO would be like a one man lynch squad, though). After that, I’d love to see HULK-VET for proper perspective.


It is tough to judge Rosberg against the others when he has never had a year in a top car.


He has had 2, maybe 3 ‘half’ years in a podium-level car since 2010.

In this case though, 0.5 + 0.5 =/= 1


My dream team Hamilton and Raikkanon. Think Lewis and Nico will keep each other on their toes! Can’t wait for all the other pairings as well; like most people I hope Massa and Webber up their game as well. Bring on the weekend!!!


A fair comment from Brawn here.

Lewis is clearly one of the most talented drivers and equal to the other number ones (Alonso, Vettel and Kimi)and faster than Button

Rosberg is prob at least equal with Massa (on average…), Romain and Webber (again on average)

So based on this careful arithmetic it is hard to argue with his statement. But given that Rosberg is not clearly better than Webber or Massa, I think Red Bull or Ferrari could both fairly make the same statement.


I think it depends on your definition of the “best pairing”. If you want the best pair of drivers to fight for the top step (which is what Mercedes want to do; maybe not this season, but next season) then I think Ross is right.

But different teams have different goals and will need a particular pairing to achieve that. For example Heikki/Vitaly last season was good for Caterham. But you would say Kimi is better than Vitaly so swap them, but Kimi wouldn’t have the motivation to drive around the back of the field imo. Therefore a Heikki/Kimi pairing wouldn’t be good in that situation. Whereas at Lotus it would be perfect considering Heikki has raced for the Enstone squad.

Anyway, I got away from the point a bit there. Basically I think the Force India pairing should be considered as well. Paul can be consistent pace wise and has only retired twice in his 39 races (with 2 further non finishes). He makes very few mistakes. Sutil has worked with the team since 2006 (bar last year obviously) I think he may struggle at the start with the new tyres, but he has the potential to adapt quickly.

In my opinion, Paul and Adrian is the best driver pairing this season


Based on last season the only #2 driver to beat his #1 was Rosberg.

Raikkönen, Vettel, Alonso & Hamilton beat their #2’s convincingly on the track, the points don’t tell the truth.

Rosberg in a good car will hopefully do the bizniz. This could work regards the constructures crown if Hamilton delivers too and drives the way he did in 2012.

it’ll be funny if the Mercs keep their 0.5sec advantage once the final areo bits go on the cars for the 1st few races.


Rosberg and Hamilton beat their number ones and twos?

There has NEVER been a number one at either McLaren or Mercedes. Drivers in both teams are given equal status, EQUALITY is something they sign in their contracts.

Val from montreal

Rosberg was no 1 in 2010 but clearly no 2 in 2011 and 2012 … When 1 car constantly dnf’s while being in FRONT 75% of the time , it’s easy to use the word ” beat ” .. Mercedes gave to Schumacher the faulty silver arrows these last 3 years ….

It was a conspiracy !


Agree. You have to look behind the statistics in 2012. Had Schumacher’s car managed to finish more than handful of times he would certainly have been ahead of Rosberg, but that often conveniently gets forgotten by those who look further than the numbers.


Rosberg beat his #1? Michael was never #1. He may have been at the start of 2010 but Nico has outscored him in all 3 seasons as team mates.


Here we go…the F1 PR machine steps into overdrive and pumps out enough of the hot stuff to get a large balloon airborn. Once again the platitudes run riot and in this respect Mercedes is no different from any of the other teams.

So I’ll choose Lotus as Raikkonen puts his energy into racing rather than waffling and Grosjean, provided he’s overcome his depth-perception issues, will probably win a few races this year as will his team mate.


Not just the best pairing, but easily the best out there… for several hours more…. Perez could well prove to be a great teammate to Button, Rosberg could eclipse Hamilton, he did the returning Schumacher, we will get the first clues in several hours time.

Of the others, no competition or surprises await, Webber is clearly inferior to Vettel, no matter what nonsense is talked up, Ferrari always favour their lead driver, cheapening anything he could ever achieve, even with his tainted reputation.

Of the others, none really stand out as strong pairings, Maldo and Grossj are fast but flawed by spatial awareness problems, plus borderline psycopathic aberrations on occasion from Maldo, DiResta and Sutil may well be best balance of the the mid pack.


Woo-hoo! EH HE EH! TEAM MERC! GOGO! Lewis & Nico!

Harrison Vrbanjac

Alonso and Hamilton was best pairing since Prost and Senna. McLaren should ask them selfs, why both are gone!?


We could ask that, but then we’d be here all day…


I’m sure many people will disagree with me, but here’s what I think.

I think the strongest drivers are Raikkönen and Alonso, but talking about pairs is a bit more complicated.

Massa doesn’t deserve to drive a Ferrari in my opinion, he’s barely an average driver, therefore I can’t say Ferrari has the strongest pair of drivers.

Red Bull has two good drivers, Vettel being slightly better than Webber though.

Mercedes is about the same as Red Bull I think, but both Hamilton and Rosberg are slightly weaker than RBR’s drivers.

And I’m still unsure about Grosjean’s skill, but I consider him better than Massa, so probably Lotus has the strongest pair of drivers.


Massa on top form vs Grosjean on top form is no contest in my opinion, between hungary 2009 when Massa had the accident and suzuka 2012 he wasn’t himself, I don’t think it’s helped that he’s had a team mate that needs to be seen as #1 all the time. Before 2012 I didn’t rate Grosjean highly at all but to be fair he’s done well, you could argue though that it’s hard to gauge his performance against Kimi who was out of the sport for a while.


Massa had several strong bouts through 2010 and 2011, but they were not really long enough for a Ferrari driver.

But when he does hit those highs, he can run Alonso close.


You’re right, no contest, because pre Hungary 2009, Massa was quicker than Kimi. Even in 2007, without some of his bad luck , he would have beaten Kimi too.

So, in conclusion, Massa vs Grosjean, no contest

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