f1 drivers friends or not

Best Friends On The Grid: Which F1 Drivers Are Friends?

Formula 1 is a highly competitive sport, and the Paddock Club is not ideal for socializing with friends. With pursuing racing excellence, each driver here sets himself to be better than others. Therefore, the term “teammates” in Formula 1 is more formality than the truth, as both will try to outdo if the opportunity comes. Can the F1 drivers be friends? In short, yes. But, it is a rare thing. Let’s dive into the other side of the competitive world of Formula 1 racing to find which F1 drivers are friends and which are enemies.


The Friends among F1 Drivers in the 2023 season

“CARLANDO” or Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris 

That is how F1 fans have started to call this pair. “Carlando,” perhaps, is one of the most brilliant examples of the F1 drivers’ friendship, as the good relationships between Norris and Sainz are extended out track and off it, alike. And that is for a reason. 

Thus, despite the five-year age difference, Norris and Sainz started the 2019 Formula 1 season as teammates in McLaren cohesively. It debuted for Norris, while Sainz had passed a stressful competitive three years in Toro Rosso (Alpha Tauri) – the Red Bull’s younger sister team. Knowing how tough it can be for a rookie in Formula 1, Sainz helped Norris learn the ropes. Norris’ respect for Sainz and their friendship has grown. 

After two years of teammates, Sainz switched for Ferrari, but the two have maintained good relationships. Both spend Formula 1 summer break together, riding a yacht and playing golf in their downtime.

It doesn’t mean Norris and Sainz aren’t racing against each other at the track. Instead, their rivalry can be intense, like at the Japanese Grand Prix 2023. But they do it with the entire understanding that fierce battle is the duty of each one and respect it. 

Just think, that Sains’ genius using the DRS as a part of the race strategy helped Norris to finish second in the Singapore Grand Prix 2023. Norris, in his turn, secured their positions by holding back George Russell.  

landi norris friends in formula 1

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris

Among the f1 drivers, Lando Norris is the most friendly person. Maybe the reason is his variety of interests outside the track or his charisma, but Lando has good relationships with each drive. But among them, Norris is friends, particularly with Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver and the youngest-ever F1 champion has a way with words. So, when the Sky reporter asked Verstappen about his friend, he pointed to Norris as the best. That is also for a reason. 

Verstappen and Norris represent the same generation of F1 drivers. Verstappen is two years older than Norris and more successful. Despite that, Lando respects Max and his achievements. Unlike others, Norris recognizes how much hard work lies under the Versttappen’s winning because their childhood, in some terms, has similar patterns. So that is for a reason Max calls Lando a normal one. 

After all, these two are not those who spend all of their time together, but Verstappen and Norris have deep respect for each other. 

Alex Albon zodiac sign

George Russell and Alex Albon

Despite the rumors, George Russell is not close friends with his teammate Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, but he has a friendship with Williams’ driver Alex Albon. 

Albon is two years older than Russell, but both started racing and have continued this way together since Russell was six. They’ve been spending free time together for over the years, and both became part of families of each one. 

Today Russell is the driver for the top team, and Albon holds his seat at the tail of the grid with Williams. But it doesn’t prevent them from maintaining being best friends and keeping the friendship on track too. Both have deep respect and support each other in bad times. 

Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly

The friendship through time unites not only Russell and Albon but also Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly. Ferrari driver Leclerc has the one and only friend among F1 drivers. It is Alpine driver Pierre Gasly.  

Monegasque Leclerc and Frenchman Gasly became friends when both started carting. Through the years, the pair become the closest friends on the grid.

Thus, Leclerc and Gasly spend time together after the racing activity on the track, discussing it. They visit sporting events outside the track. The reason for that is each is very sensitive in nature. Leclerc is a creative person and a good musician. Gasly’s temperament is like that of the gladiators. After spending six tense years in Red Bull and Alpha Tauri, Pierre believes everything depends on his own. They have many common in the sense.  

However, despite Gasly’s sure, there are no friends as soon as lights out at the track, he still has the highest respect for Leclerc and never crosses this line. 

Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso

Sainz is also friends with Fernando Alonso, and this is what historically happened. They aren’t best friends, but good ones. 

All the countrymen athletes interact with each other because their homeland unites them. So, when younger star Alonso started his career in Formula 1, he met the legendary Spanish rally driver Carlos Sainz. His son Carlos Sainz Jr. turned nine years old at that moment. 

Being good friends with Sainz, Alonso became the inspiration for his son. After more than ten years, Sainz Jr. debuted in Formula 1 in 2016. Time goes by, but they have maintained good relationships. Alonso is a frequent guest for Sainz’s family and national celebrations in Spain they spend together. 

However, their friendship doesn’t work when these two are on the track, because both are unforgiveness. So, from good friends, they turn out to be fierce rivals. Their epic battle at the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix is a great example of the above. Besides, being less experienced, Sainz senses his weakness against Alonso. It is a sensitive topic, and the press often notes their friendship is not as good as they have presented it.

hamilton friends with vettel

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel 

Despite Sebastian Vettel retiring from Formula 1 in the 2022 season, we still couldn’t mention a friend of Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton is a loner because the way of seven-time F1 champion wasn’t easy. In fact, with Vettel, they weren’t friends at the beginning. But when Vettel had finished his career, they were already united with a closest friendship.

Maybe the case is in their zodiac signs, maybe not, but both have the common in Formula 1. At the 2013, Vettel was the record breaker. He was the youngest-ever driver and champion. German star reached the top. But he had tested the most of bad luck. Switching to Ferrari in 2015 dropped Vettel out of the winning line. 

On the other hand, it was Lewis Hamilton, who started to win during that time and reached the pick in 2021, when Max Verstappen took over the leadership. Verstappen has started to outdo previous records of both Vettel and Hamilton. 

Moreover, both have a philosophical view on success and are interested in cornerstone issues of our time. Hamilton acts for the equal rights of the people worldwide, while Vettel focuses on environmental protection. So Vettel shared Hamilton’s views. Therefore, Sebastian’s departure was painful for Lewis. 

As for the actions at the track, these two weren’t aggressive because had respect for each other and didn’t cross the line. 

which f1 drivers are friends hamilton and alonso

Which F1 drivers are non-friends anymore?

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton

When Lewis Hamilton debuted in Formula 1 in the 2007 season for Mclaren, Alonso switched to the same team and already had two titles of F1 champion. The task was simple. He had to help a rookie to take the roots, but McLaren had prepped Hamilton since he was a kid. Now or never. Hamilton started to outdo Alonso against team orders. 

Due to his fierce nature, Hamilton immediately found millions of fans. Alonso and Hamilton are both self-centered and each one pursues their own goals. They upside down all the team. Furthermore, it started the clashing between the fanbases of these two. 

It was like a nightmare. After the end of the season, there was no option but to say goodbye to one. Alonso left the team. Despite spending together in one team for only one season, the impression they got, is maintained till these days.

hamilton and rosberg f1 drivers friends

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Although Nico Rosberg left Formula 1 after winning the F1 championship in 2016, their relationship with Hamilton was more than heartbreaking drama, it was a story when friends became enemies.

Rosberg and Hamilton had been friends since they started carting. They maintained the friendship even after, but it was immediately ruined when both started to race for the title in one team – Mercedes. 

When Hamilton signed the contract with the team, Rosberg was already Mercedes driver for 2014. The three following seasons were the mentally toughest ever team faced. It was the fight for wear and tear. Watching Hamilton have won the races for two years, Rosberg wasn’t ready to be number two and decided to make a point of it. That is what he made for 2016. He outdid his teammate. Nico was so exhausted when he won the F1 championship title, that he retired from Formula 1 forever. 

The reason for that was he was forced to cross all the lines in his pursuit. They were no longer friends. Their common childhood stories were strikethrough. 

There came seven years, Rosberg says that they restored their relationships with Hamilton, as both are neighbors. But it is just what Nico says. Being a reporter and standing in one place, Rosberg had never interviewed Lewis Hamilton for six years. Such an opportunity he got only for the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix. However, even then, the tension between both was everyone to note.

what f1 drivers are friends

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly

The story of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon is also about “from friends to the enemies.” Both are French. The pair were childhood friends and they have known each other for 20 years. They started karting under the same – French flag, and same engine manufacturers. Ocon was like a brother to Gasly. Bun on 2009 Bridgestone Cup, when Gasly tried to overtook racing third Ocon, their cars contacted. Esteban finished fourth. Pierre had waited for apologies for many years but in vain. The mutual respect has been loosened. 

Despite the toxic relationships, they needed to find a decision, because Gasly became a new teammate for Ocon in the Alpine team for the 2023 season. Many F1 fans were wondering how this team was going to manage two enemies. But somehow Gasly and Ocon found a common language, while Gasly noted that they would never be friends. However, both are very unyielding and aggressive to each other at the track. 

what f1 drivers friends 2023

The other cases:

The clashes and misunderstandings between competing F1 drivers are usual. Often, racers don’t focus on these minor things, but sometimes these continue to impact the relationships. Despite Max Verstappen telling the press he has a huge respect for Hamilton, while Lewis mentions Max as a great driver, the reality is a bit different. 

The tension lies in the air when these two finish the race on the podium. What is more, to outdo Hamilton for a point or to set the fastest lap ahead is a matter of principle for Verstappen.

Another pair that lost their mutual respect is Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. They were teammates at the Alpine team in 2021 and 2022. Moreover, Alonso played a crucial role in Ocon’s maiden Formula 1 victory on the Hungarian Grand Prix 2021. 

However due unclear situation inside the team, the relationships between the two were tense. At the Brazilian Grand Prox 2022, Ocon squeezed Alonso off the track. Both cars received damage, and Alonso was penalized for the incident after the race. Their friendship comes to an end. 

friendship in formula 1

The friendship between the F1 drivers

The friendship in Formula 1 is something that has grown from the respect and understanding of each one. But only in the last few years F1 drivers often become friends. Previously it was a rare option. What has changed, you may say? Many things. 

With the introduction of social media like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, F1 drivers became more wordy. Also, Formula 1 as a sport became more regulated in terms of law. Today, the contract of each driver is on a team of managers and lawyers. 

Former F1 driver Mark Webber is managing rookie Oscar Piastri’s contract deals. When Fernando Alonso started his career, he was the only manager who also managed the Renault team. It was Flavio Briatore. Drivers weren’t safe, and they had to lie to themselves. Also, there were not many chances to show their best. They did as they could, even if it caused a controversy in Formula 1

Third, today drivers bet on their cars. There is no additional risk required if the car hasn’t sped. In terms of the team strategy, it is the right choice. And as a result, the main rival of the driver is his teammate. Dramma, but Formula 1 is a tough sport. 

But what didn’t change through time is that each F1 driver is a self-centered person. Therefore, the line between own needs and those of others is a thin thing. To cross this line means to destroy the wishes of others. 

That is the cornerstone of the issue because all the drivers who start their careers in Formula 1 are friendly fellows, but the actions at the track may destroy even the best friendships, that have been built through the years.