F1: When teammates collided on the race track

Two weeks after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc took each other out at the Brazilian Grand Prix, we look at other famous teammates clashes in Formula One.

Ferrari teammates Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc suffered a race-terminating collision on lap 66 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The last race of the 2019 Formula One season is here just two weeks after a gripping Brazilian Grand Prix, a race that had it all, from teammates colliding to an underdog finishing on the podium.

Ferrari teammates Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc suffered a race-terminating collision on lap 66. Vettel, who started second, was passed by Leclerc, who started fourth, into turn one. The cars headed into the straight and Vettel was too keen to get his position back. He took the outside line and just before the left turn ran into Leclerc. Both cars suffered immediate punctures and it was a self-inflicted double retirement.

Let’s look back at similar incidents between teammates from the past.

Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, Japan 1989 for McLaren

The year of 1989 belonged to McLaren. Eventual champion Alain Prost and teammate Ayrton Senna made their presence felt till the very end.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

The year of 1989 belonged to McLaren. Eventual champion Alain Prost and teammate Ayrton Senna made their presence felt till the very end. The championship was decided in the most extraordinary fashion at the penultimate race at Suzuka. On lap 40, Senna tried to overtake Prost while they approached the final chicane before the start-finish straight. The margin was too fine and Senna hadn’t managed a clear pass. Prost closed the door, they collided and both cars stalled. The Frenchman Prost’s championship victory was secured despite the retirement and he walked back to the pits. Senna won after restarting his engine with a push from the marshals, while is illegal, but was later disqualified for a different reason – for using the escape road to rejoin the circuit.

Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, Singapore 2018 for Force India

Everything changed for the worse at Force India after Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez ran into each other at the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix. Ocon was trailing Perez by an extremely slender margin when he tried to overtake the Mexican from the outside. The two cars went to wheel to wheel briefly before making contact. The collision resulted in Ocon’s car smashing against the wall and coming to a sudden halt. The French racer recorded a DNF, while Perez finished 16th.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, Azerbaijan 2018 for Red Bull

Throughout the 2018 season, there were question marks over Daniel Ricciardo’s future at Red Bull. Teammate Max Verstappen was slowly making a name for himself. Whispers turned louder when the two Red Bull drivers collided during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Verstappen had gone ahead of Ricciardo with the help of an overcut during the pit stops. On lap 40, the Australian Ricciardo, while attempting to pass Verstappen, failed to break on time and rammed his car into the Dutchman’s rear. Both drivers did not finish the race.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, Spain 2016 for Mercedes

The Spanish Grand Prix of 2016 got off to the worst possible start for Mercedes.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

The Spanish Grand Prix of 2016 got off to the worst possible start for Mercedes. Nico Rosberg, who started second, got around the outside of polesitter Hamilton into turn one. Hamilton tried to take the lead back immediately into turn three by taking the inside line. He pushed too hard and ended up on the grass. The Brit’s car spun across the track, taking out his teammate in the process. The 18-year-old Verstappen went on to win his first F1 race.

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Turkey 2010 for Red Bull

Verstappen and Ricciardo were not the first Red Bull teammates ending on the wrong side of team strategy. Webber and Vettel suffered a similar fate at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix. Webber, who started on pole, finished third. On the other hand, Vettel crashed out of the race after starting third on the grid. How did that happen? On lap 40, Vettel came out strong off turn 11 into the back straight. Webber, right behind him, tried to overtake Vettel from the inside, but the two cars collided at high speed. The German Vettel’s car spun 360 degrees and out of the track. He had to retire with a right-rear tyre puncture. Webber had front-wing damage, which he took care of in a pit stop two laps later, to ensure himself a podium finish.

Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, Austria 1999 for McLaren

At the 1999 Austrian Grand Prix, Hakkinen started on pole and led the race before the incident with his McLaren teammate.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

At the 1999 Austrian Grand Prix, Hakkinen started on pole and led the race before the incident with his McLaren teammate. Coulthard tried to overtake from the inside and ended up clipping the rear-right tyre of Hakkinen’s car, which spun around and forced him off track. Coulthard carried on and finished second. Hakkinen, meanwhile, fought his way up through the field to finish third.

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