Insight: Hamilton and Rosberg’s head-to-head at Mercedes
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Dec 2013   |  10:35 am GMT  |  338 comments

Following on from last season’s very popular analysis of the head-to-head records of team mate pairings here’s the analysis of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s first year as team-mates at Mercedes.

It was the end of an era when Hamilton left McLaren for Mercedes at the end of last season, but has had an impressive first season with the Brackley-based team, outperforming Rosberg who has been at the team for three years, although the trend was towards Rosberg after the summer break and post the Pirelli tyre specification change.

The Briton has complained all season that he has been unable to set up the car correctly and has admitted that he does not yet have the feel he needs on the brakes with the new brake materials he has to use at Mercedes, but his results on the track have been strong. In qualifying, Hamilton has had the upper hand over Rosberg, coming out ahead 11 to eight. However in the second half of the season it was 5-4 to Rosberg.

Hamilton also started on pole five times, to Rosberg’s three, and qualified on the front row eight times to Rosberg’s six. However in the races, it was much closer.

In terms of race wins, Rosberg came out on top, triumphing in Monaco and Britain, although he was aided by Hamilton’s retirement at Silverstone. Hamilton triumphed once, in Hungary just before the summer break.

But when it came to podiums and points, it was Hamilton who just edged it. Hamilton took five podiums to Rosberg’s four while Hamilton clocked up 17 points finishes in 19 races, to Rosberg’s 16, to highlight Mercedes’ reliability and both drivers’ consistency. That was highlighted with Hamilton and Rosberg finishing ahead of each other in eight races apiece.

Hamilton came out on top in the championship battle, finishing fourth overall, with Rosberg sixth. In the season breakdown, Hamilton came out on top in terms of points and podiums, but Rosberg had the edge in terms of wins.

In the second half of the year, Rosberg came on stronger, edging it in terms of qualifying, points finishes and podiums. Neither driver managed a race win after the summer break.

Check out the statistics below to see how close it really was.

Hamilton v Rosberg stats compared (highest respective tally in bold)



Faster qualifying time: Hamilton 11 / Rosberg 8

Poles: Hamilton 5 / Rosberg 3

Front rows: Hamilton: 8 / Rosberg 6


Wins: Hamilton 1 / Rosberg 2

Podiums: Hamilton 5 / Rosberg 4

Points finishes: Hamilton 17 / Rosberg 16 

DNFs: Hamilton 1 / Rosberg 2

Ahead in two-car finish: Hamilton 8 / Rosberg 8


Points: Hamilton 189 / Rosberg 171
Championship placing: Hamilton 4th / Rosberg 6th


First 10 races

Out-qualified team-mate: Hamilton 8 Rosberg 2
Wins: Hamilton 1 Rosberg 2
Podiums: Hamilton 4 Rosberg 2
Points: Hamilton 9 Rosberg 7
Retirements: Hamilton 0 Rosberg 2

Final nine races

Outqualified team-mate: Hamilton 4 Rosberg 5
Wins: Hamilton 0 Rosberg 0
Podiums: Hamilton 1 Rosberg 2
Points finishes: Hamilton 8 Rosberg 9
Retirements: Hamilton 1 Rosberg 0

The JA on F1 2013 year book is now available to pre-order. It is a large format paperback, with a Foreword by David Coulthard and featuring stunning photography from Darren Heath. It retails at £10-99.

Every copy ordered through this site will be personally signed by me. Copies will be despatched on December 7th in plenty of time for Christmas. To order yours and to be sure of getting a copy click on this link: JA on F1 2013 Book

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I think this year we have all seen how good Rosberg actually is. Yes, hamilton had the upperhand mainly, but Rosberg whas never far of.

Overall i still believe Hamilton is one of the best drivers out there, but certanly Rosberg need not to shame.


Raikkonen is better than Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel. Someone tell me otherwise.



Kimi”s best days are behind him – but we shall see 2014


Clearly the raw speed from Lewis is there especially when he is in a good mood.

Once Lewis can get the car the right feeling, he will be one that beat Vettel.

Personally, I don’t see Alonso ever beating Vettel. Instead, Lewis will be the one. It will be like Mika vs Michael.

Just watch the driver’s onboard, when he is able to toss the car around aggressively. That’s when you’ll see pole and purple sectors.


If Vettel had performed this way against Rosberg, people would be saying how it proved Vettel is a very average driver, barely beating an average driver like Rosberg.

Now it is Hamilton barely beating Rosberg, people are pretending Rosberg is one of the greatest drivers of all time, to up Hamilton.


If Webbers car did not mysteriously konk out or have a problem every time he was close to Seb ………

If Seb and Mark both had bullit proof cars we could have been gifted a season like those of times gone by.

Mansell/Piquit Senna/Prostitution Alonso/Hamilton :it’s been so long since we had a decent inter team battle


Where did that word come from,

I meant Prost…ql


James needed to add the two GP’s LH had the tyre problems in the comparison. Because the fact that Lewis could get fourth on the British GP is just an example of his talent, and kind of hide the fact that the tyres exploded, and he was throw to the back of the field (from the first place).

In Brazil what I think was a race incident, did take from Hamilton a possible podium finish. So, in my opinion we are trying to just make discussion about something that is pretty obvious in my view. Hamilton did not know “a thing” about the Mercedes car, that was designed around Nico and with a “critical” difference on the brake workings… c’mon, Hamilton smashed the team mate with the numbers from this year. You can forget 2011, unless you want to fool yourselves. Any team mate on his generation, will lose this battle. Alonso has great talent, and many think he is one of the best, Lewis did beat him in his “rookie” year. And Alonso was already a double WDC.


You missed something james Lewis gets paid a lot more.

Why is that he does not seem much faster.


Nico can ask for the same money at contract time if he thinks he deserves it, and has other takers.


The reason is plain for all to see 2nd in the WCC……

I doubt that would have been achieved if Schumacher was in the car.


I thought Lewis did really well in his first year at Mercedes. But I do miss his raw speed when he first joined F1, when tires were not an issue. Well, management of tires took that away from Lewis and many others too. Since his sparkling rookie season at McLaren, will be his benchmark and he’s very hard on himself too, who could’ve blamed him when he gave Alonso a very hard time in 2007.

As for Nico, he’s been at Merc for 3 years and surely more familiar with the machine and development. With an engineering degree it sure helps. And I hope Rosberg will win at least a WDC if not more.

Wish Rosberg and Hamilton the best for 2014.


Lol… nothing like a Hamilton thread to get the traffic flowing.

My take on it is – of the top teams Mercedes let their drivers race, no team orders ( bar the one race ) no underhand tactics to keep one driver in his place no team orders to totally humilate and demorolise one driver at the cost of another – On those grounds I complement & applaude Merc.

Now Rosberg did well but ( to me) he was not driving for a WDC he was driving to beat Hamilton ( like Button) but during a race he never appeared to me to be pushing for a win, yes he took them when presented but it never seemed his prime target.

The stats tell half the story as we know but Rosberg this year is not the real deal. Don’t get me wrong ( anyone who has read me would know I rate him and thought he did a job on Schumacher) he just does not have that special something.

forgot which race it was when he was 2nd holding up the field, allowed Vettel to build that huge lead – Hamilton, Alonso would have wasted their tyres running the RB down…or even Webber ( but chances are his kers or something else would go on the car if he was 2nd…..) to keep Seb honest – Nico just made his car wide and on more than 1 occassion.

Hamilton did what he always does and drove for the WDC, his fustration – not having the right equ like Alonso’s – was obvious.

Its more an issue who won the in team battle to fans/non fans more so than to Hamilton, the man wants to win every race he enters the rest is just blah…thats why I rate him in chasing the ultimate goal he beat Nico.

there was no luck involved.

Next year should be interesting because its all new.

Looking back at this season I kinda wish now Hamilton had stayed at Mclaren (although I thought he had to leave) and Mclaren had continued to develope the 2012 car, this season would have been epic.

but bottom line history will show hamilton finished ahead of his team mate…

Alexander Supertramp

Good insight. The lack of performance in the second part of the season can probably be contributed to Lewis’ lack of confidence in his ability to beat Vettel. He- and Alonso had the same issue- knew the WDC was played for, and he basically drove around like a normal driver. His spark somewhat returned when he saw Nico keeping the team in the running for P2 in the WCC. He fell his previous performances were undermining his team’s chances and he stepped it up a notch. He was racing pretty well in Austin and Brazil..

James said it and I have to agree: If he gets the car to actually fight for the WDC, than he’s very much the man to beat in 2014.


Hamilton decline continues….

If he really is as good as he was suspected to be he should have completely dominated Rosberg.

While Rosberg is good, witness how hard he made Schumi’s life, He really isn’t ever going to be the next Senna.

Which if you recall… Hamilton was.

Even if he was the one saying it loudest.


Did Lewis say that he was going to be the next Senna? When was that? I certainly haven’t heard him say that, and I strongly suspect that neither have you.


Lewis made a comment about how Alonso was like the new Prost, he was like the new Senna and Vettel was like the new Mansell (but not as good as Nigel – as he was in his bitter that Vettel won something stage back then).

That’s probably what Rob is referring to.


I hadn’t heard that quote, if accurate itsounds more like he was refering to the different styles of driving than pronouncing himself to be Senna’s heir apparent.


Hamilton bashers crack me up. There is no “suspecting” he is that good. Anyone who is not a hater has known this for sometime now. Some are still reluctant, so they complement him on his “raw speed” or “one lap speed.” I’m not going to try and convince you as that would be futile. You will never be convinced, that’s why you demand ludicrous targets for Hamilton to prove his worth.


Perhaps we were a little hard on michael schumacher over the last couple of years…

Probably had a few more race wins in him had he been driving this year!


I love the post season analyses. For me, both Lewis & Nico were disappointing this season to an extent. They both performed well at some venues but also under achieved at others. They did not have the car really so not much was lost, but if the Mercs turns out as good as it is say it will be, to be consistent over the season will become ever more important for either driver to take the crown.

Even though Lewis bested Nico, I was a bit surprise he did not do better vs his less regarded teammate. I mean, LH is rated one of the best 3 in todays F1 by many. To me it is not so clear cut since 2007 to be honest. Marc


After Seb he has the best stats regards poles and wins/podiums ( I think) … pretty impressive for a man in decline also has seen this year able to drag a team to the sharp end of the field.

Consider if Schumacher was still with Merc and finished 11 or 13 in the drivers merc would be nowhere in the WCC were did Nico finish?

That penalty in the last race (every body bar those stewards regard Hamilton as one of the fairest on track when in a dual) cost him 3rd in the drivers….. consider new team, thats impressive no matter how you look at it.


I would say Rosberg was the more impressive this year.

Hamilton was supposed to kick his ass…and he didn’t.

Next year, when Hamilton gets full input into the car, should really tell the difference.

Thanks for this JA.


What are you talking about?

Rightly or wrongly, Hamilton was and is thought of (by Alonso to name many) as one of he top 2-4 drivers in F1.

Very rarely is Rosberg thought of in that group (again, rightly or not).

But despite that, he came close to Hamilton on points and out performed him in the last half of the season.

My comments have nothing to do with what I think of Rosberg.

There is no contradiction except in your mind over this.



You must not think highly of Rosberg. I think you’re going off the notion put forth last year by those that don’t think highly of Hamilton and the only way for Hamilton to prove himself to then is to “kick his ass.” But those same people also say Rosberg is a top level driver. Walking contradictions?


Something that stats dont show:

Nico seemed have edge in the wet (except q3 in spa) and it also appeared in practice sessions and in q1/q2, lewis extracting the extra 1% or nico tightning up?

James do you know if the data showed if lewis was continually harder on tyres than nico (e.g spain)?


Alexander Supertramp

Extracting maximum performance in the wet requires great knowledge of the car. That knowledge of the car’s behaviour gives the driver the confidence he needs- which is what you need to drive in the wet. Rosberg was- not surprisingly- more at one with the Mercedes. He had a better feel for the car and that translated in better performances in the wet. Q3 in Spa was special, Lewis was in race mode, trying to squeeze closer to Seb inch by inch. Basically, the sight of both Red Bulls in front brought him in ‘the zone’. Too bad he failed to build on that- even though his wet performances were ‘ok’.


Well that’s a good point. It reminded me of 2007, when Hamilton was way below Alonso’s pace during practice and many first parts of qualifying, and then he managed to put all together in the final two laps, raising his performance to Alonso’s level.

I think 2007 has more to do with Alonso’s strengths and way of driving, he gets up to speed probably faster than everybody else, and maybe also to Hamilton being a rookie and getting a bit to get to speed and to the right set up.

Probably this year it is the proof of him being uncomfortable with some aspects of the car. The fact he somewhat struggled in the wet adds to that thesis. Let’s how next year pans out.

Very good point. Thanks.


Well, seems this Ross guy’s option list is quite concise.

1. Retire and watch MU games.

2. See what happens to Bernie, and take over for him.

3. Honda @ McLaren?

Guy is young, no way he’s going to sit and home.


According to the BBC, Lauda says Ross will be a consultant to him next season – not Mercedes but Lauda personally. The more I read about this, the more inclined I am to think Ross wanted to take a bit of a rest. He already has more than enough money to never need work again and both he and his wife have had some kind of health issues. Why not sit back and relax and smell the roses 🙂


James, any chance you could go back to the pit lane for the BBC and then we could have the James vs Ted debate on here. That could be a proper giggle!

Feel free to block this, I’m just being cheeky 😉


Adapt TO it’s characteristics,I meant to say.


Adapt to its characteristics, y’meant.


I’ve been reading Buttons comments regarding next year’s cars and how the drivers will need to “re-learn” their craft,such are the techniques required to extract the best from them. Now Hamilton has just spent a whole season at Mercedes,a car built to the same tech regs as the the McLaren he drove previously. But he’s still complaining about how hard it’s been to adapt it’s characteristics. How will he cope next year?


Right because a McLaren and a Mercedes are pretty much identical lol! They share a engine, that’s it! You’re funny guy. Hamilton has demonstrated his strength to adapt to different machines, tracts, personal etc. But you somehow think he’s weak in that department based on what?


Err..based on his first season in F1 not in a McLaren? Seriously though I do think the Mac and the Merc probably more closely resemble each other than either will resemble next year’s cars.Oh,and I’m glad you think I’m funny guy-that make me happy!


Look, we all know that drivers drive to the pace that the strategist determines to be the “best” pace in order to achieve the best-possible result.

As long as this occurs, we may never ever really know who exactly is the “fastest” driver or the “best” driver.

For all we know, Mercedes did not have the drivers on equal strategies as they wanted Driver A to beat Driver B at one race then wanted it the other way around at another race.

I say : turn off the pit to car communication, let the drivers drive, and then we will find out who the truly great drivers really are.

Alternately, put the name of the strategist on the side of the car as “Co-driver” just like in rallying.

Oh, and it will be very interesting to see how HAM and ROS perform in 2014 and, more particularly, whether Toto & Niki give them both equal treatment.


“turn off the pit to car communication, let the drivers drive, and then we will find out who the truly great drivers really are”

That would be great. I don’t see it happening any time soon, but I wouldn’t discount the possibility.

After all, a few years back they let them have reverse telemetry before deciding that it was not in the best interests of the sport, so there’s a very small outside chance they might one day decide to do a similar thing with the radios; Maybe just let the driver talk to the pit wall, report problems, request a pit stop, etc…

It would have it’s down sides, but I think the up sides would be worth it 🙂


James, looks like you are promoting Rosberg in this article even he has scored less poins than Lewis.

This is seen as you takes the second part of the year and compares the final 9 races. You mentioned the trend here …

Why you didn’t do the same in 2012 when you had compared Schumacher and Rosberg? The trend was agains Rosberg but you said nothing about it.

What about a consistency ?


Thanks for the analysis James, your website keeps the interest going until the new cars fire up!

Regarding Hamilton and Rosberg, I think this shows a few things:

1. Rosberg is a very good driver. I don’t think he the very best in F1, but he was GP2 champion the year before Lewis, and he has taken his wins well. My only negative perception is that he doesn’t always take the car forward from his grid position as much as he could.

2. Hamilton’s decision to join Mercedes is entirely vindicated, and not just because the McLaren was such a dog this year. He has established himself well in the team, and with next year’s car being designed for him and Nico I think he will step up even further. The only negative thing for Lewis is the way he has let his sulky side come up more in post-race interviews this year: at times, he has been far too hard on himself.

This is a good driver pairing, and if the Mercedes is anywhere decent they will challenge for the title. That will test the obvious good friendship between them.

However, I’m pretty sure that this time next year will be talking about Vettel’s 5th straight WDC, and Mercedes 1st WCC…


Could be right about Vettel (depends on how the teams go with the new regs), but considering that Vettel got enough points on his own to win the WCC for RBR and Ricciardo is no slouch I’d have to say there’s a good chance that RBR will wrap their 5th also.

Other than that we should see the usual suspects elbowing each other for 2nd…again.


Wasn’t Schumi always saying that the problems with the tyres at Mercedes were hidden in the genetics of the car?

So a problem which was there for several years. even it was not yet Mercedes. Or were it the gene’s of the developer(s)?

So obviously it takes years and to get rid of a bigger design mistake if you have no other big invention to neutralize the other problem.

So the hope is not that the 2014 is designed for Hamilton or Rosberg, but that the new design has way less design mistakes which would take too long to be solved.


Pretty much evenly matched, those two. I suspect that Malaysia team orders (very unfair to NR, IMHO) deflated NR somewhat, but he coped well. He was on the rise in the second half of the season, and it leads me to believe he will do better than LH next year, especially so because the cars will require more brains to drive as opposed just to raw instincs. LH lacks in this department a natural ability to have a race plan/vision for next 10 or 15 laps, that’s what differentiates him from the truly great ones like FA or SebVet. I think NR is better at managing the race overall, multitasking through it (so to speak). Add to it that RossB left (who was favouring LH to the resentment of Stuttgart), and you have a very much open contest. It will be fascinating to watch, albeit less so than FA vs KR.

Alexander Supertramp

“LH lacks in this department a natural ability to have a race plan/vision for next 10 or 15 laps, that’s what differentiates him from the truly great ones like FA or SebVet.” There are quite some examples to prove you wrong. The last race, Brazil, is a good example. Lewis was fighting Fernando for p4-even though there was a 5 second gap between them. He was closing in on Fernando in very calculated manner, never overpushing- very much taking the full race lenght into consideration. Don’t swallow whatever the mainstream channels feed you. Just because popular media or fellow posters claim Lewis is a dummie does not make it true. He knows what he needs to do have a good race. You mention Seb, but it’s easy to plan your race better with a 15-20 seconds advantage..


There is nothing from and about the mainstream channels etc. To put it differently, my take is LH is not a Top 3 racer in the current crop of F1 drivers as many of his fans would like to believe.


biggest problem I see for Mercedes is that they have two very good drivers that will end up stealing points from each other. Kimi and Alonso will have the same problem at Ferrari.

So looks like another win for Redbull and Vettel with Lotus and Grosjean coming in second in the drivers championship. Now that I have predicted that, I better go and buy a ticket for the next lottery.


If Alonso isn’t good enough to consistently beat Kimi, and Hamilton isn’t good enough to consistently beat Rosberg, then neither of them would be quick enough to beat Vettel in the same equipment.


How do you know that Kimi or Nico aren’t better than Seb in equal equipment?

You don’t, (remember, they have both beaten him in inferior equipment) therefore your statement is meaningless and lacks any logical basis whatsoever 😉


Uh GS, the Red Bull was still the best car, even before the summer break! I guess only when the car is all-dominating, that it only then manages to become the best car, if only slightly. 😉


Vettel would because he still finds ways to win when he doesn’t have the best of it (2013 before the mid-season break). Alonso needs the car to win, Hamilton has shown in the past that he can win with inferior equipment (not nearly as often as Vettel), Hulkenberg has shown he can do amazing things in an underfunded Sauber.


@German Samurai

Before I answer your reply to my post, I want to pick up on something you have written – ‘They’ve beaten Vettel on days where their cars have been quicker than the Red Bull.’

So, when Vettel is beaten it’s because of [his] inferior equipment. It must follow logically then, when he wins, it’s because of [his] superior equipment. Thanks for confirming that.

Anyway, back to your reply. If you read my post, again, you will see that you have failed to address my point. Nico, Kimi and Seb have never raced in equal equipment, therefore you cannot state categorically who would come out on top. Your subsequent conclusion is therefore based on false analysis and as a consequence is meaningless. Sure, you can make all sorts of comparisons between their respective performances but, as you correctly stated, the equipment makes all the difference. So who is to say which driver would come out on top if the playing field was level?


Rosberg was more or less was similar to Webber in the same equipment. Rosberg lacks consistency too.

Kimi is the same. He’s had great cars since his second season and has one championship to show for it. Couldn’t win a championship despite being gifted a Newey McLaren. Poor qualifier, inconsistent (few are consistent like Vettel or Schumacher), lacks professionalism, if everything is right can be quick.

They’ve beaten Vettel on days where their cars have been quicker than the Red Bull. Do you watch the races? This season up until the mid-season break the Red Bull was quickest at only Bahrain and Montreal.

Alexander Supertramp

Grosjean should focus on a top 5 WDC finish before dreaming about more. He’s been strong since Singapore, but his first half of the season was pretty poor. He ended the year more than 50 points behind his team mate. Not even counting the 2 extra races.. Besides, how strong will Lotus be next year? What happens if the car is bad and results are poor?


James, thank you for the informed comments once again during the F1 season of 2013.

A new era begins next year and I am sure you will keep us as informed as you always have.

Keep up the good work, and have a well deserved Christmas break.

Cheers from down under!


Thanks, We have a comprehensive plan for 2014 build up content


Rosberg had 3 DNFs Australia, China and Hungary.

Those were good poits for Hamilton 5th, 3rd and 1st

I think both had a good year

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