The year was 1984 and Prost, who was already a legend in racing circles, was leading in the wet Monaco GP conditions and was destined to win.
But, on this June 3rd, it seemed luck was not on Prost’s side as a rookie by the name of Senna had zoomed down from 13th position and was virtually on his wings. Well, things went bizarre from there when Prost requested the race to be stopped due to the rain.
This denied Senna his first victory in Formula One triggering the most intense rivalry in Formula One between the two.
Sense of Dejavu 2014
30 years down the line, a very similar scenario played before the eyes of F1 enthusiasts when Hamilton and Rosberg who were formerly childhood friends turned into bitter rivals while driving for the same team Mercedes. Could this be a reincarnation of the situation exactly three decades back?
To answer this question you need to compare the genesis of Hamilton and Rosberg’s rivalry to that of Senna and Prost. Whether you have or have not watched these modern drivers from their rookie stages, let’s examine what really happened over the 2014 F1 championship and observe whether it tallies to what really happened between the two previous drivers?
Highlights of Hamilton vs. Rosberg Rivalry
- The lull before the storm: Two ambitious drivers, a wonderful machine and a superb technical team behind them. This is the situation that you see when you look at the whole scenario, but before this, these guys were friends since karting days. Hamilton was coming into the 2014 season a comfortable Mercedes driver having managed 4th position in the 2013 GP while Rosberg was struggling the same year at 6th.
- It’s on! Bahrain: With Mercedes performing exemplarily, the two drivers seemed to be the only ones on the track. Rosberg lost the lead but managed to cut in. Hamilton played hard and won back almost clipping Nico’s front wing. As they say, the game was on when the German complained over the team radio.
- The Spanish bulls are out: Hamilton was ready to up the game and he did so by using an engine mode he wasn’t allowed by the team to use. It was all or nothing, and obviously Nico was hurt, though he had used the same in Bahrain.
- Hunger Games on the track: Forget the movie, because this was not what Hamilton was talking about, and concentrate on the two driver’s upbringing. Simply Lewis wanted to tell Nico he was more hardcore based on his upbringing and he would take this to the wire.
- A 2006 ‘packing incident’ replay in Monaco: Schumacher is remembered for many things, but his worst display was deliberately blocking Alonso from pole in 2006. In fact, it earned him a penalty and this seemed to be a trick his fellow German wanted to apply when he locked up on his final lap in qualifying thus instigating yellow flags and denying the faster Hamilton from pole position.
- Define a friend please: After Rosberg won at Monaco in May you could tell Lewis was vexed and a remark he made later about Rosberg not being his friend showed the rivalry was now spiraling out of control.
- No to team orders: By the time the two were going to Hungary the tension was palpable. When Hamilton was asked on the radio to allow Rosberg to pass as he had a different tire strategy he declined and finished second with Nico finishing third.
- A crazy Schumacher Move at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium: This was the last straw that recalls one of Schumi’s moves against Damon Hill in 1994. Nico clipped and punctured his teammate’s left rear tire at the start of lap two. The Brit was aghast on team radio. When it emerged that the German said he did it on purpose, fans started booing Nico and the tide begun to turn.
From this point going to Monza, Italy, Nico starts to crack and with more wins by Lewis in Singapore, Suzuka Japan, Russia, Austin USA and finally Abu Dhabi, he wins the championship comfortably.
Can these two drivers compare to the legendary Senna and Prost? For one, none is a daredevil like Senna and none has yet the composure of Prost. Maybe time will tell. What’s your take?