One of the most storied rivalries in Formula 1, if not all of motorsport, is that of Mercedes against Ferrari. For decades, the two racing giants have been competing to be the best, whether it be with constructors, or drivers championships.
No matter how they line up at the beginning of the season, or which drivers are behind the wheels, it is always difficult to guess the winner, but that doesn’t take away from the excitement these two legendary teams bring to the sport.
Both teams have been able to win six consecutive Constructors Championships, a feat unmatched by any other team. Clearly, they won their championships at different times, but this is how they stack up.
Ferrari’s run started back in 1999. Ferrari won the constructors, but was unable to secure the drivers championship as Michael Schumacher broke his leg mid-season, and his team ended up missing out to Mika Hakkinen by 2 points.
2000 saw Rubens Barrichello join the team, as well as the start of the Jean Todt dominance. Michael Schumacher would win 9 times that season, compared to Hakkinens 4, and David Coulthard’s 3 wins, easily securing the drivers, as well as constructors championship.
2001 saw further Schumacher dominance. There really wasn’t any competition as Mercedes struggled. Schumacher would win 9 races that season, clinching the drivers and constructors championships again.
2002 will most probably go down as Michael Schumacher’s best year in his career. He claimed the drivers championship after only 11 races, and it also saw the debut of one of the best cars in F1 history, the F2002, a car so good that other drivers were competing for third every single race.
2003 was a much tougher ask for Ferrari. Kimi Raikkonen was the new kid on the block and proving to be a serious threat behind the wheel. He took the championship race all the way to Suzuka, but Schumacher barely scraped by to secure the championship.
This season also saw the constructors championship being much closer than previous years. Williams and Mclaren had found incredible form, and even though Ferrari would beat the two by 14 and 16 points respectively, Ferrari hadn’t had competition like that for a while.
2004 would see the end of Ferrari’s reign. Schumacher and Barrichello topped it off by winning 15 of the 18 races between them, with Schumi taking the drivers championship, and Ferrari easily winning the constructors for a 6th year in a row.
2014 would be the year Mercedes first properly flexed their muscles on the track. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton won all but three races, and Mercedes crushed the constructors championship by winning it by 300 points over Redbull.
2014 was also the year Rosberg and Hamilton went from amicable teammates, to downright destructive, with multiple incidents between the two. Hamilton would win the drivers title that season.
2015 was trickier for Mercedes. There was a resurgence led by Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, but his inconsistent performances ultimately led to Lewis Hamilton securing another drivers title, and Mercedes crushing the constructors championship again by more than 300 points. Mercedes would also break their record of one-two finishes that season, by getting 12 in total.
2016 was bittersweet for Mercedes. As the turmoil at the team continued between the drivers. However, both Rosberg and Hamilton were performing well, winning 19 of the 21 races. Rosberg would narrowly take the drivers championship, and retire immediately, leaving the sport for good.
2017 saw Valtteri Bottas join the Silver Arrows. He was calm and composed, and many thought losing the spice Rosberg brought would dull the Mercedes cars. But now, they were as dominant as before, and Lewis Hamilton claimed his 4th drivers championship, and the team beat Ferrari by 146 points to take home another constructors championship.
2018 was a closely run affair. The first half of the season saw Vettel putting in a serious challenge to the title, but the second half saw him slip, and he slipped quite badly. Hamilton would win 6 of the 8 races in the second half, claiming another drivers championship, and winning the constructors championship by less than 100 points for the first time since 2014.
2019 saw Mercedes dominate the season once again, with Lewis Hamilton and Bottas both putting in incredible performances to not only win another constructors championship, but for Hamilton to claim another drivers championship.
Many believe that the winds are going to chance soon, just like how they did for Ferrari in the early 2000’s. Vettel’s future is now uncertain, and there are a number of young drivers, who are behind the wheel of the right car, but can put in a serious challenge to Hamilton’s dominance.
The upcoming truncated 2020 season will be interesting. Less races, more urgency to win and less room for errors. Considering it will most likely be Vettel’s last season at Ferrari, there is a good chance he is going to want to go out with a bang, and maybe even a championship. Only time will tell, we just have to wait and see what happens.