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It’s anyone’s guess as to how the teams will fare come next Sunday in Australia but one thing we typically do know is that the competition between teammates is where drivers are measured. How you perform against your teammate in equal machinery has always been a benchmark to determine potential.

Nowadays that isn’t quite a true as it used to be with the notion of paying-drivers who bring big cash to teams but even so, we can still compare the drivers by using their teammate as a measuring stick. Regardless of if they will further their career or not. One can consider the career of Nico Hulkenberg and see that dominating your teammate isn’t always a sure ticket to a ride at a top team.

Having said that, which team battle are you most intrigued by in 2014? Many might place the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso (fire and ice) and the one to watch. Perhaps you’re interested to see if Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa might be interesting given the Williams F1 teams seemingly pure pace in testing.

Then there is the new kid, Kevin Magnussen, with F1’s veteran Jenson Button. Or maybe it is the Marussia battle or Caterham?

For me, I’ll be watching all of them just as you will but one that intrigues me, given the apparently performance gins in winter testing, is Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. It was an interesting pairing last year and I think this year could be very interesting if Mercedes AMG Petronas is as fast as they seem. Nico is already setting the stage and unlike last year, he may not pull over for Hamilton should Mercedes be on song:

“We’re not best friends, and we’re probably never going to be best friends just because it’s difficult in this industry, especially when you’re team-mates, fighting for wins. We get in well, we have a laugh, neutral, very competitive. We even have some heated exchanges, but then afterwards it gets back to normal. That’s it.

“It was the same when we were young – it was so competitive between us. In the amount of pizzas we could eat, the wrestling matches in the hotel rooms, whatever it was. It’s the same today.” Rosberg told the telegraph’s Daniel Johnson.

So who are you watching with much anticipation? Which battle do you think will be epic in 2014?

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Rapierman

    As it stands right now, I’d say that the Rosberg/Hamilton duo are the big guns of the series, but the Alonso/Raikkonen pair will be a very close second.

  • Brody

    The duels between Hamilton and Rosberg, Alonso and Raikkonen will grab everyone’s attention, but the Button and Magnussen pairing could bring about major changes at Mclaren in 2015, if Magnussen should outperform Button.

    For me…….Button and Magnussen.

    • We just talked about that on the podcast. Is button the guy at McLaren? I get the sense Ron isn’t overly keen on him and it could come down to this year. Good point.

  • jiji the cat

    I am looking forward to seeing if there will be an implosion at Ferrari between Fernimi.
    Like all of you above I cant wait for the Rosberg / Hamilton duel. Cant see Rosberg pulling aside this year. I think Nico comes across as the more intelligent driver. I expect Hamilton will win out the pole position fight between the two as he has more raw speed, but when it comes to racing whilst managing pace (especially with the fuel limitations) i think Rosberg will edge out.

  • AntioBob

    Yes, clearly Lewis/Nico and Alonso/Kimi will probably be fantastic. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of the four was beaten relatively soundly by his teammate (if pushed to name names, I’d guess Kimi or Nico… in that order). For whatever reason I’m less interested in the McLaren duo…that battle all comes off a bit vanilla to me.

    However, I think the sleeper combo might be Massa/Bottas. The newly resurgent team (possibly podium/win quality car), with a veteran with a new lease on life and context of respect, and a young driver with an unknown (but highly valued) ceiling.

  • dude

    I think it’s intriguing across the whole board. I am only certain Sutil will be faster.

  • Meine

    For me the ferrari duo will be the most interesting to watch, but I suspect Alonso will be the no. 1 men in a relative short period.

    Williams don’t really have a front competitor I suspect, and their drivers are not top notch in my opinion.

    Mercedes will be interesting to watch, but I also suspect Rosberg will soon prove to be the better of the two, because Hamilton (as Kimi) does not put the required time into formula 1.

    • Meine

      Alonso even proves to be more than a man ;-)

  • Tom

    This year, I think pretty much every combo looks interesting, apart from Marussia and Caterham where I see clear number ones.

    Lotus might also have a clear number one on paper, but first of all, Grosjean will have to prove himself with a bad car at the beginning of the season and secondly, Maldonado doesn’t strike me as someone who would accept a number two status, particularly since he’s basically financing the whole outfit. This will be interesting for reasons of in-team politics alone. Plus, the two biggest crash kids in one team should be fun.

    Having said all that, being a big Mercedes fan, of course I will also be most interested in the Lewis/Nico pairing, but as I said, Kimi/Alonso, Bottas/Massa, Button/Magnusson, etc. will all be interesting. But even beyond that, the Lotus battle will be fun, also, being kind of a Sutil apologist over the past years, it will be interesting to see whether or not he can dominate Gutierrez and thereby vindicate me. Then Hülkenberg will be under scrutiny, as he will have to decisively beat Perez if he wants a shot at that Ferrari seat and Perez certainly is no slouch. It will be fun all around…

  • jeff

    Like Dude, I find it intriguing across the board (save Bianchi wiping the floor w/ Chilton.) Young vs Old, Fire vs Ice, Raw Speed vs Meticulous Preparation, and so on.

    F1 is such a soap opera, and I’m shamelessly waiting to see who marries or kills whom.

  • Brian

    I find them all exciting. I have my fingers crossed on some explosive moments from the fire and ice battle and while I think the Merc battle has potential to be exciting, I could see it easily becoming pretty anticlimactic.

    Personally, my one to watch is the Force India battle. You have two drivers with big futures looking to take advantage of a season where FI will be able to punch above its weight, giving them a prime chance to move up the grid. Checo probably feels he has a lot to prove after the McLaren debacle and while Hulkenberg is pretty proven, a lackluster season at a midfield team could kill a career in the current driver market. So, just given the personal stakes, I think FI will be one to watch for excitement.