F1 Winter Break
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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Maybe they are right!


Oh yeah so good I mean really??? So you think Ross wouldn't sign Vettel or Alonso given half the chance? The fact is Webber is faster than Rosberg and Vettel is miles better than Hamilton, stats show it, Rbr has the strongest driver line up.


" Vettel is miles better than Hamilton " . . . How come, What make you think like that?

At best regard

Aloso = Best Driver, most complete driver

Hamiltion = Fastest Driver

Vettel = Luckiest driver !!! who get the best car most of the time. . . . What else is his strongest point ???

when his car in not clearly fastest, Vettel look very ordinary. Vettel fast when his car is very fast, Vettel is not very fast when his car just fast. I hardly see Vettel drive the car beyond the limit like Alonso or Lewis.

When Vettel have won, when his car is not at peak ?

Vettet is good driver, but not outstanding. . . . What is something special about Vetel.

without Andrian Newey, Vettel is nowhere. . . . Vettel never been a benchmark, Red bull is benchmark.

For Lewis . . . where his reputation come from ? . . . Yes, he is lucky to be in the fast car, but he got Alonso as a benchmark. He is as fast as Alonso, if not faster, in the same car. . . . some argue about team favorite, if he is not genuinely fast, he still can fight Alonso. . . . about team favorism, who do you think the team want to rely on, WDC or rookie? very common sense . . . this issue is derive when there is very very fast rookie, who will imagine how fast this rookie will be, not even Ron or Alonso.

When Ron put Lewis in the car, he didn't expect him to fight Alonso at all . . . just don't do something stupid in the rookie year, or do some decent job in some race, will be good enough, who would imagine that he could fight Alonso in his first year.

I never heard any driver said he fear of Vettel, even his teammate . . . . but at least, Alonso ,one of the fastest driver, said Lewis is the one he fear most. Do you think he is lying?


So Vettel is the luckiest driver despite having 2 of the last 3 seasons badly compromised by reliability issues?

Colombia Concalvez

What a joke, It's clear you are a Vettel fan. Vettel is good but NEVER better than Lewis!


"Vettel is miles better than Hamilton" wow, Vettel fans just make me laugh. I just wish, honestly, that Hamilton, Alonso or Kubica end up in the same team with Vettel. That would be an enjoyable year of F1 to watch. All 3 of them said they are faster than Vettel, so what is interesting is that they all stated that all 3 are the best in F1 and greatly respect each other, but they don't include mr. finger number one in their group.


Red Bull does have the strongest driver pairing. Webber would be #1 at McLaren.


I think Ferrari has the best driver line up, now Massa seems to have got his mojo back.


You're probably correct about Webber being faster than Rosberg but I'm not sure where you're getting this 'Vettel is miles better than Hamilton' idea from. We've seen Hamilton pull off super drives on a much more regular basis in more difficult circumstances than we've ever seen from Vettel. Your thinking is akin to saying that Vettel is better than FA because he has had better results when it's quite obvious that FA drove stunningly last year and probably better than Vettel.


Exhibit A: since Di Resta beat Vettel in F3, and Sutil beat Di Resta in F1, and Hamilton cleaned the floor with Sutil in F3, then Hamilton is crazy super fast!

Linear comparisons don't work in F1.

But most people in the F1 paddock would concede that Hamilton is the fastest over one lap. That is simple fact.


Doing linear extrapolations in F1 is a total fool's game.


Vettel is better than Webber, in turn Webber is better than Rosberg who in turn seems to be faster than Hamilton so far and we'll see how that pans out but if Lewis doesn't blow Nico away then getting beaten by Button won't seem to be just a dip of form, but some interesting battles ahead.



about: "So you think Ross wouldn’t sign Vettel or Alonso given half the chance?" That's not the question. Maybe he will, maybe he won't! Two roosters in a coop is always a 50-50% chance for trouble.

& about: "The fact is Webber is faster than Rosberg and Vettel is miles better than Hamilton, stats show it, Rbr has the strongest driver line up." I'm really happy that you think so! In my opinion is not the line-up, but the car what you are talking about. Lotus, Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and even Force India have a good line-up.

We will never agree on this. I believe Alonso is great, Hamilton, Perez, Rosberg, di Resta, Räikkönen, Hulkenberg, Grosjean... Maldonado is great! There are great drivers out there, but lately the car, and the mastermind behind it, have become a bigger part than the drivers.

I certainly agree with @Richard, about RBR & McLaren.

It will be fantastic to go retro, removing all the aids this drivers get, go back to the stick shift instead buttons and the powerful turbocharged engines... and see what this guys can do.

Enjoy the season-opener GP this weekend folks!


With the way the engines rev these days and the technical electronic functions, driving with a clutch and gear lever would be impossible. Not even the legendary smooth driver Alain Prost would be able to drive without tearing apart the gearbox after a couple of fast laps.

Not to mention how the additional driver input would be impossibly physically demanding for drivers; the lateral loading on the cars now is a lot more than it was even just 20 years ago.


Ahmed, Grosjean beat Vettel in the RoC this past year. Grosjean!!


Its called the Race of Champions, and guess who took out the title??? Yes Vettel and Schumacher. No driver aids, identical cars across different categories.


Vettel is waaaay faster than Hamilton... Yeah ok.


Wasn't the gap 1.1 secs in Hamilton's favour, on the same track, in the same car (i.e. in the Liana on Top Gear)?


This is a joke, right? VET is 'miles' better than HAM because of stats? I have never heard a single F1 expert pundit say that VET is much better than HAM, but you think that? Put VET or HAM on a mobility scooter and put me in an M3 and i'd beat them both all year, every year but that would not make me a better driver regardless of what the stats say.

rob in victoriabc

Thompson said, 'in fact the more you review the season its really clear to see Vettel was lucky.'. Funny, I've always been taught: the harder you work, the luckier you'll be.


What Red Bull have had is the best car. Last Year had McLaren not made the operational errors and avoided unreliabilty Hamilton would have been champion so Vettel really only won by default. - Not convinced wait and see, vettel is good but not that good.


I agree that Vettel won by default. He's very good, no question about it, but he's had the best car for years. Had Alonso or Hamilton had that car, they would have won the 3 championships. Period.


McLaren are very good at some things, but I feel they have become too corporate in their approach, and somehow consistently fail to close the loop. The company is perhaps too sterile, too rigid in their approach. I suppose it's hard to define what missing but as well as bleeding McLaren as Ron Dennis says they also need to love it with a passion.


If not for McLarens total witlessness, Lewis would be a 3 time World Champ by now, maybe even a 4 time champ. His loss has been Vettels gain.

McLaren lack the killer instinct of a shark and the cunning of the jackal thats needed to bring home the loot, time after time.

Ferrari certainly has it and Red Bull have displayed it convincingly. Shame.


Let's be clear! In these aerodynamically lead times ALL drivers need a very good car to win the championship, and it is a fact that Adrian Newey's team have been able to put together cars that have ranged from good to very good, while other team's designers have been left wanting. It really is nothing to do with drivers at all. Having said that a really good driver will extract all there is to extract from any given car.


I do agree that without McLaren's errors and failures, Hamilton would have at least been in for a very good shot at the championship. But that doesn't at all mean Vettel only won because of the car. Hamilton drove very well in 2012, but so did Vettel. McLaren's car was certainly not off the pace. They started the season with two front row lock-outs, and aside from Jenson's troubles mid-year (which Hamilton didn't suffer from), they had a fast car all year. Arguably the fastest car at times.

So as much as one might say Vettel only won the WDC because of the car, you could say if Hamilton had won it, it would have been because of the car.


If Hamilton had the same grid to points conversion rate as Vettel in 2012 then he would have scored something like 350 points.


Totally agree, it could have been a 7 win season for hamilton ( Brazil possible question mark over it, but a solid 2nd for sure) totally dominate season if not for Mclarens form.

in fact the more you review the season its really clear to see Vettel was lucky.


People of the present who diminish the achievements of Vettel will look a bit odd in 20 years time.

What's next? Vettel used 2 legs and 2 arms so he did not deserve the title?


I thought Rosberg beat Webber when they were team mates?


Dave C

you could be right about nico beeing young or whatever but your comment on vettel over alonso please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! there is only two driver in f1 who people enjoy watching it lewis and alonso, we all know vettel has full support as a number one cause he brings more money to the team that why webber suffer from all that. down to performance and talent it lewis and alonso point bar!!!!!!!!


To be fair Nico was young and new to F1 whilst Webber was arguably at his peak.


Webber is a very underrated driver but whats certain is that Webber definitely beat Rosberg at Williams, Ross is just trying to be nice but he knows Redbull has a strong lineup, Webber only looks ordinary because Vettel is now on a different level, even higher than Alonso, thats why Fernando is scared to go up against Seb in 2014, but it doesn't matter, unless this year's Redbull is mid field level they will win the constructors title again with Seb taking the drivers title, I will say it now Mercedes will fade and Ferrari will be coming up with more excuses.


No, other way around


I don't think it will be long before LH and NR fall out. We've seen LH with FA having a issues... Maybe they'll say the tension is a good thing. I wonder how long Mercedes will itself hold up. I see a lot of underlying issues in that team. Time, as ever, will tell.

I think too that Perez and JB might not be so workable. SP seems a little too gung-ho and immature. Button though is quite forgiving and mature so there's hope.

FA and Massa is a done deal. In that way it's likely the best pairing since there won't be any friction.

SV and MW seem a done deal too. MW will stay second fiddle. In that way too it'll be stable.


Has Lewis ever actually fallen out with a team mate?


Not as such....he just P_____ off the whole team!


Never happened 😉


To be fair ever since Lewis drove into Jenson in Canada 2011 there was friction between the two of them. After Lewis posted McLaren's telemetry on twitter Jenson was pretty scathing, and ended up saying that they didn't have much of a relationship.


LH and NR have been friends since karting days. They won't fall out. We've seen while Jenson has been his team mate over the last two years that, as long as his opponent doesn't play games, Hamilton is easy to get along with.

In fact I'd say Hamilton will never be really bothered who his team mate is because I guess he knows, whoever it is, he can beat them. The Alonso/Hamilton McLaren debacle only came about because Alonso was so desperate not to be beaten by a rookie and, as a defence mechanism, he concluded Hamilton was being favoured. Since then Hamilton has won Alonso's respect.


The general consensus regarding the Hamilton/Alonso stuff was that Alonso's disagreement was really with the team management and Ron Dennis in particular. Having been promised No. 1 status, he didn't get it and it all stemmed from there.


I'm in agreement with Ross Brawn as I think they do have the strongest pairing in F1. They are both very fast drivers, although Lewis has had greater opportunity to show it. I think they push each other very hard, and I think Lewis will have been on a learning curve with Mercedes, and perhaps he will arrive at his optimum after three or four races into the season. I don't think Nico has experienced just how fast Lewis can be just yet, but I can only wish them both all the best for the season.


Sorry Vettel and Webber (the world champions 3 times in a row are probably the strongest team). Would love to see ROsberg prove me wrong by keeping Hams honest though


Na Rosberg's a chocker and quali pace fluctuates too much also race pace not as strong as Hamilton's but if he beats Hamilton then a seat at the top 3 team is deserved, Rosberg might be as fast as Lewis but not as consistent over the season or even throughout a whole weekend.




Drivers must also love walks on the beach.

Looks like only Lewis knows what time it is.


At least thy're not holding hands - that would have pushing PR to the limit!


And yes, I think these two will be the two to watch. Certainly we will have no shortage of discussions at season end.

I will pick Rosberg to be on top end of the season...someone has to do it!



So Nico it is then!


When you look at that pic, you know who the number one is. It shows in the posture, one is comfy as a prize cock with the other leaning toward him.

Its just like the animal kingdom, you can observe who is boss between any two people.

Take another look at the pic and you'll know who'll come tops of the two. Its psychology.


I wouldnt dare to bet on the outcome but we will know in november how fast Rosgerg really is.


Well...isn't it what they all say?

Red Bull say the same, Ferrari say the same....



But we know how things play out on other teams.

Alonso gets to walk all over Massa through team orders.

Vettel is the 3X WDC won while Mark was there, so too bad for Mark.

Button has Perez - which I am sure he will not take litely and this is the second most interesting pairing to watch.

Kimi and Grosjean we already saw, but we'll be watching for Grosjean deliver this year.

...and then we have Nico and Lewis - a new pair and all the lights are on that team in every respect. So they will be most closely watched.

And didn't Marco@RBR actually not say that about his pair? 😉

VP of Common Sense

Alonso has been plainly faster than Massa for 3 years. Team orders come into the mix down the stretch when Alonso is fighting for a WDC and Massa is not. Alonso makes sure the team orders go his way by being faster than Massa the moment FP1 begins. Stop trying to discredit Alonso's proven and superior pace to Massa.


Are you talking about the proven and superior pace Alonso had end of 2012 when pressure to get WDC was on, and Ferrari finally gave Massa equal equipment and freedom in hope of taking more points off the Bulls?

In the most critical period of Alonso's last 3 years in my view, Alonso was whipped my Massa. Truth was shown. Brace yourself, if Massa is free to race in 2013 Alonso won't look like such a magician for long.


I think he is right!


Obviously Brawn is voicing his support for his drivers, but really you can't take that pairing as being better than Vettel and Webber, Vettel has won the championship 3 times and Webber has been close many times. Even Alonso and Massa could be better than the Mercedes pair.


Have to agree!


Have heard Ted Kravitz say this too too but I just don't get it.

I think broadly that Vettel, Alonso & Hamilton are pretty equal overall - with slightly different strengths and weaknesses - so it comes down the second drivers.

Is Rosberg really better than Massa & Webber? What has he done to justify that assessment. Sure he's had great moments but he's never strung together a strong full season imo. Both Massa & Webber have won multiple races & have been strong championship contenders (who would have been champions with a bit more luck).

I'd rate Mercedes as 3rd best going into the season but if Grosjean fulfills his potential they could easily come out behind Lotus as well.


I would have said Mercedes have had one of the best driver pairing for 2 years now myself.

Red Bull run them close, possibly exceeding them. Vettel is supreme, and Webber is probably the most underrated driver on the grid.

Ferrari are strong too, with Alonso and Massa when he is on form.

Lotus... not so much. Raikkonen did not perform last year as he did in his Mclaren years, which is why he at times struggled against a driver who Alonso destroyed.

Sounds awfully familiar to Raikkonen in his Ferrari years actually.


I think Grosjean is the one to watch this year IF he has learnt a lot from last year he could be the big surprise and a new star is born.

I like Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean as a driver pairing.


Didn't Massa have the measure of Raikonen during their two and a half seasons together...


Fair play to that i have always argued massa was/was on course to be as good a driver as any current right now pre spring off the noggen, I'm glad to see he seems to be finding form again but doubt he will ever will be as good as he was/was going to be.

But i feel his success over Kimi at that time was more to do directly Kimi and where he was mentally at that time as opposed to there actual abilities i.e p______ off/unsettled.


In the 2nd driver catagory Webber is better than Massa and Rosberg, Vettel has to be considered the best because he has it all, raw pace, race pace, consistency, tyre management whilst doing fast lap times, in the wet, so it'd be a fool not to count him as the current best, Alonso is close and Hamilton isn't too far away either but I do believe Redbull has the best lineup.


Currently, I would rate Webber as better than Massa. But Massa's good period was better than Webber's, and with cars that were not as strong - relative to the rest of the grid - as those that Webber had. He was in the co-best car in 2007 (the Ferrari and the McLaren), and the best car in 2008.

The article is just one of those fluff pieces to fill the time. It is impossible to objectively measure and compare the driver pairings. Of course Brawn would say that about his drivers. It was an easier case to make with Lewis and Jenson, as both were WDCs.

Merc, RBR, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus all have good driver pairings. If Maldonado curbs his red mist ways, and Bottas lives up to billing, then Williams could join this grouping.

Obviously we wouldn't hear a claim like this out of Marussia or Caterham.


If Massa is up to speed, then definitely Ferrari. If he's not, then Red Bull. I do believe that both Alonso and Lewis are better than Vettel, but as far as pairing go, I don't think Rosberg is better than Webber at the moment.

Then again, only way to really know that is if Rosberg is racing similarly competitive car.

It's painfully obvious that Webber didn't really maximize the Red Bull package, so who's to say Rosberg wouldn't do better than him.

I'd say Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes are more or less equal, but while their respective top drivers are more or less all there, their second drivers seem to be much less consistent and which pairing is the strongest, might actually vary from race to race, as Massa, Webber and Rosberg find or lose pace.


I have to agree, although Lotus would be a shout if Grosjean cuts the crashes out.


I think their car was very strong at the start of 2012 but Kimi wasn't driving at his best until about the half way point of the season which coincided with the decline of the E20, If the E21 has good qualifying pace and has inherited the E20's reliability then only Grosjean is stopping Lotus from winning the WCC.


I would have to agree with that. Kimi is at par with the first drivers, in my opinion he is the quickest over the course of a race due to his remarkable ability to adapt to the conditions of a race, and Grosjean is arguably faster than any of the second drivers. Only if he could finish races!


Totally agree +1


I've found it hard to judge Rosberg's true ability. This season will finally tell us.

I think Vettel/Webber is the best, but Raikkonen/Grosjean is the most exciting. If the Lotus is a top three car, then I think these two have the ability to challenge Red Bull for the WCC. I don't see enough points from Massa or Perez...


When it rains, Webber slips... RBR can't be strong with that weak link. Same goes with Massa - and; Alonso is not a particularly class driver in rain either.


Did you miss Hockenheim and Silverstone qualifying last year? and the race in Malaysia? I remember his performance in Germany 2011 when he drove well whilst Vettel spun 3 or 4 times but his car carried him to a decent finish. Alonso is certainly not below the top rain drivers.


Plus one. He might not be a 'rain master' but was in sepang last year with checco?? Wonderful driving


Kimi & Romain!


+ 1


Hamilton is just fast, nothing else. He does not calculate, he can't handle pressure, he does not think ahead. Rosberg is probably/maybe a little bit slower but a much better all rounder.

I think RBR still has the best pairing.

Colombia Concalvez

You mean Vettel is just fast and can't do anything from second row, without the best car Vettel is nothing. Vettel only won his third WDC because McLaren messed up everything


Whether Vettel has the best car or not, he always has the best car in the eyes of the world and thus is viewed as underperforming if he does NOT blitz the field.

Vettel isn't just fast. He is extremely fast, and is probably the most assertive driver on the grid when it comes to overtaking (though Massa, Webber and Rosberg seem to be harder derensive drivers). He is always quick in the early laps (implying he is confident with pushing a car far heavier than he has driven throughout the weekend) and utilises the track width better than anybody. He is also good with the throttle, and is thus very quick in the wet.

He does get somewhat impatient at times, and is still a bit too prone to silly mistakes. But in that sense he is very much like Hamilton.


Hamilton can't handle pressure? Like how he held off Kimi in Hungary last year? And that's just the latest example; he's had many drives like that.

Give him a car that can win regularly, and he will bring it home. He was the only driver to contest each Q3 last year ... I would call that delivering when the pressure is on, consistently.

Hamilton is the fastest, and easily the best overtaker in the field. If he ever gets a supercar, like Vettel had in 2011, records will fall.


bla bla bla...! Stats and facts tell a different story! Nico is a good driver, he's already won a GP, Lewis is the 2008 WDC!

They can handle any F1 car better than everyone else... Have you ever driven F1 car to pass that judgement?

Try to focus on this season and learn something new!


Lewis won the title in the last corner against Massa of all driver's, while having the better car over the season.

Hardly impressive stat.

Button beat Hamilton over the 3 years and made him leave sulking.

I think Rosberg will be the final nail in the coffin for Hamilton's career.


@Sure - against Massa or against the entire field?

Colombia Concalvez

Don't start this nonsense amigo, FIA did everything they could do too help Ferrari, explain why FIA gave Hamilton's victory points to Massa who was not even involved in that battle in Spa 2008 ?


Massa had the better can in 2008, that is simple to know. Look up total fastest laps, wins, poles for the Ferrari vs the McLaren that year.

Lewis is the only driver on the grid to have won a WDC without the team winning the WCC in the same year. And with his teammate down in 7th in the WDC standings! That hadn't happened since the 80's, and hasn't since.


Red bull definitely. They will be WCC. Alonso for WDC. I don't like either of my predictions so I hope I'm wrong.


You're a very complicated individual...


LOL! 😀


Not even close. Rosberg has never proven himself anything other than adequate. Whilst he deserves a seat in F1 he has never given the impression he can raise his game that extra level. Comparing his results against Schumacher is pointless considering how his second stint in F1 played out. Nowhere near the Schumacher of old.

I think that Red Bull have by far the strongest pairing. Both quality drivers, seasoned and capable of points. Ferrari need Massa to maintain form over a whole season, not just a couple of races. I think McLaren is very much a master and apprentice situation although I hope to be proven wrong. You know what you are getting with Raikkonen but big season ahead for Grosjean, he has to mature and change perceptions by making good decisions - no doubt he has the speed but can he learn the racecraft?

For the first time in years I'm looking forward to driver pairings all the way down the grid. Really liking look of Bottas and be interesting to see reaction if he puts Maldonado under pressure. Di Resta vs the returning Sutil will be good to keep eye on. Chilton and Bianchi at Marussia. In all honesty the Mercedes pairing is probably the least interesting pairing on the grid right now.


I don't know about that. Nico has been very professional. He has driven the car to the edge of its capabilities and rarely is he reprimanded nor does he put his car into to many walls. Therefore he takes home points. That's a 'complete' (ish) driver in my books. He has beaten Michael, in cars that weren't that fast and kept his head. Look at PM or RG. So desperate to win they lose points and respect. Given his temperament if Mercedes provide the tools, Nico will excite and execute


Were they taking different lines through the corner? Watching final practice highlights and first practice I was curious is Rosberg was taking slightly different lines and finding more grip that way.


I'll happily admit that I was very impressed with him today, seemed a lot more comfortable than pretty much everyone else. I'd like to see him do well and really step up his game. If he does that I'll happily reevaluate my opinion of his abilities.


I was at turn 15 today watching Hamilton and rosberg following each other and thinking of our comments on this thread. Assuming Nico wasn't saving fuel early on, it was clear to see Hamilton just edging ahead each lap. To soon to tell but the signs are good for Mercedes.

Rosberg was fuming but seemed to handle the DNF ok. Lewis looked prety smug and who could blame him.


It's certainly a very strong line up but I've never really been sure how good Rosberg is.

My first thought was Vettel and Webber and if Massa continues with the form he showed in the last three races, the Ferrari combo are probably their equal.

I wouldn't judge Perez until he's had a full season in McLaren.

vuelve kowalsky

me too.


I think it is definitely one of the strongest pairings but the Red Bull pairing is probably stronger at the moment. Rosberg has the potential to make it the strongest line up but has to prove to be a consistent podium finisher.


Without a doubt Hamilton/Rosberg is by far the best driver pairing


It's a testament to Lewis's talent because last year Ross would never have even dared to think of such a statement. Schuey was past it and should never have come back. I know Schumacher's fans will be frothing at the mouth but when defending him his fans point out to his stellar defense against Hamilton in Italy as testament to his talents, but blocking is such a low benchmark to associate with the Great One.


I agree with Ross. I think they are the strongest driver pairing now, and I think they will become stronger throughout their time in the team together. It makes for one of the many exciting sub plots for the 2013 season. I saw Felipe Massa driving a 2010 F1 Ferrari in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday and in an interview afterwards he seemed happy and up for the new season. I think Ferrari´s Alonso and Massa are the second strongest pairing for this season.

Eduardo Gutierrez

Last year's results would not be a good indicator, I need to know a little individual performance in this 2013, we will see how they respond to his teammate, for now I see them as balanced teams, we will have to see who dominates whom.


I think Kimi's speed, race craft have been underrated since his second career. In my opinion he is as good as Hamilton and stronger in the head. Romain also can be very fast, but he has to cut errors. Kimi-Grosjean, Vettel-Webber, Hamilton-Rosberg are as driver pairing at very similar level. If I have to pick one it must be Vettel-Webber.


My take, with the difacto No 1 first;

1)Vettel + Webber

2)Hamilton + Rosberg

3)Alonso + Massa

4)Raikkonen + Grosjean

5)Button + Perez

6)Hulkenburg + Gutierrez

7)Sutil + Di Resta

8)Maldonado + Bottas

9)Vergne + Ricciardo

10)Bianchi + Chilton

11)Pic + van der Garde


I'd probably switch 6 & 7. While I think quite highly of Hulk's abilities, I've not really seen anything much from Gutierrez in an F1 car that has looked anywhere near as good. Paul di Resta I don't really think too much of, but he has shown he does have some talent. Sutil again, nothing amazing IMO, but there's some talent there. I'd take NH over either of 'em, but in terms of driver pairings, I think Force India look stronger than Sauber.


Would have Ricciardo as the #1, ahead of JEV. Just going off of last year, JEV was consistently slower than DR.


Also almost fully agreed.

Although I think you can make an excellent case that ALO + MAS is the no.2 instead of HAM + ROS.

It would be great to redress this Q again at the end of the season!


Pretty close to what I think.

I also think that should be about the WCC results. Main exception: I think McLaren will be a little further up and Mercedes, a little lower, but that's mostly not the drivers' fault.

If Massa delivers, the full packages of RBR and Ferrari will certainly vie for WCC honours. Otherwise, It'll be RBR's again.

Perez will surprise me if he's close to Button on points this year.


I'm a Mclaren, Hamilton and Button fan (not really Di Resta yet, far too grumpy!), a fan of the underdogs but primarily a fan of F1.

Having said all that, the most exciting driver line up this year for me is Team Lotus - Kimi & Romain. I think these 2 a going to be very fast if the car allows and fascinating to see how close Grosjean gets to Kimi.

I didn't like Kimi at all when he was at Ferrari but he's my favourite character in the paddock now!


I agree, I've been a lifelong McLaren fan and always tried to support the brits, so it was fantastic in that respect having Lewis and JB together (made cheering simpler anyway).

But I agree in terms of pure excitement and comedy odd-couple line-up Lotus have it. Have you ever seen a driver line-up with such a manically smiling enthusiast alongside such an infamously grouchy one?

If nothing else we should get a sitcom about Kimi and Roman being forced to live together. It'd be hilarious.

They're also pretty fast...


Lotus' version of Tooned maybe?


I wasn't too keen on Grosjean at first either, but I love his enthusiasm now, acts like a man that's been given the second chance he has, and shows signs of being quite quick to boot!

Team Lotus, please do a mini Big Brother with just Kimi and Romain, like that silly Tooned series McLaren did but you wouldn't need to write the funny bits... Have you seen the Kimi goes fishing thing, hahaha!

Riccardo Consulini

Kimi and Grojean are the best pair.

Grojan just needs to put his act together and stop being so keen.


In terms of talent it is

Rosberg and Hamilton

In terms of constructors championship

Vettel and Webber

Dark horse

Maldonado and Bottas

Weakest pairing among the top teams

Button and Perez (I might be proven wrong)


In terms of talent it is

Ferrari and Massa

In terms of constructors championship

Vettel and Webber

Dark horse

Button and Perez

Weakest pairing among the top teams

Raikkonen and Grosjean (I might be proven wrong)


Yes I agree with Brawn in that Mercedes have the best driver pairing if one is solely looking at scoring points for the team in that both Nico and Lewis are fast over one lap, both have good race craft and both are pretty hard defenders.

So in that sense, yes, Mercedes have the best pair but on the other hand, looking at individual glory i.e. WDC, the Mercedes pairing is the worst for I can only see these two taking points off each other.

So unless Mercedes have been hiding a rocket, Lewis & Nico can forget about challenging for the WDC >>> unless one of them can convincingly out perform the other.

Now taking into account Brawn's words, it appears Lewis doesn't remind him of a younger Schumi but at least he's happy with him which is a good sign for this means there's a good chemistry between team principal and driver = perfect ingredient for success.


Although I am a longtime Tifosi, the pair of Hamilton and Rosberg does look like one of the best. RBR is solid but Webber has fallen short of his team mate over the course of a whole season. Maclaren has fallen back substantially with the loss of Lewis. Ferrari has alot of potential if Massa is up to speed as he was in the later part of 2012. Overall, it will be a fascinating year. I can't wait...


Undoubtedly they're the best paring but unfortunately, however good the Mercedes is this year, that probably means no driver world championship for either of them!


Sure! Hamilton and Rosberg, on paper seem to be an excellent pairing, but I'm interested to see if your esteem colleague Gary Anderson impression bears fruit: in that when a team has two drivers that have similar driving styles it is easier to develop the car faster.

I appreciate what Ross Brawn has said and truly hope he is right. But could you do a comparison for all teams and their drivers for us.

PS. James, since the ?F1 GP will no longer take place, what will the 10th BBC F1 coverage be? Have you been told?


There won't be one, only 9 races live on the BBC.



I agree with Ross on this one, based on current form of last season.

If all the drivers were to deliver there maximum I think the Ferrari pairing would take the honours but Felipe would need to be back to his very best.

I would add that if Grosjean proves to be as reliable as he is fast then lotus would have the strongest pairing.

Roll on Sunday!


Yes, Mercedes has the best line-up, closely followed by Ferrari, Redbull and then Lotus.


All five top teams have 1 World Champion of "star" quality each (FA,SV,KR,LH,JB)

All of them can win (have won)with a proper car, and even with a marginally slower one

Yes, half of you think SV still has to prove himself in lesser machinery and some will argue JB is not "star" quality, but they all have been WDC and have current #1 status at their teams

Massa, and Webber have proven to be good, fast drivers but have not been able to defeat their team mates regularly, in Webber's words, not bad for #2 drivers

Rosberg has never driven a top class car and yet is the only guy to beat all conquering MS

Wether he will beat LH or assume a Massa like #2 status reamins to be seen, but I am sure he will not give up easily

Grosjean is fast but hazardous, Perez is fast but inconsistent, so it is difficult to judge them still

From this I would say Ferrari is best team since it has a "star" #1 and an excellent #2

RedBull comes next because of #1 and a sometimes conflicting(contesting) #2

Lotus has a good pairing and I think a defined #1 and #2 status, although Grojean will try to change that

Mercedes might end up in problems since both drivers will go for #1 status so the competition is inside, much like FA and LH were at McLaren

McLaren might be the poorest setup with a reliable, just became #1 and a young, new to the team #2 who has to make his mark or face

a "pay driver " status for the rest of his life

What this means is it will be very close and fun to watch, and probably the most trouble free car will win


I so expected Brawn to say "that other team has better driver pairing than us".


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

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...


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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!!!


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


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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.

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