Atlas F1 is going to keep an eye on the battle between team mates throughout the season by race and overall averages (again). The measurement is simple. We compare the intra-team difference in seconds on Saturday. Some may say compensation must be given in the favouritism between the number one and two seats within the team. We, on the other hand, do not grant that pardon. For better or worse, our analyses will be on the perfect world of egalitarian status in intra-team rivalry.
With five qualifying sessions completed for 1999, the differentials are on a roll. Let's see which drivers deserve bragging rights.
- The Rain. Well, the rain was notable, wasn't it? And it's very noticeable in this round's edition of the qualifying differentials! Some would say that including this lottery qualifying session in the overall average is unfair, but then - weren't the conditions the same for all? Isn't choosing the right time to go out, and how you handle the traffic, weather, pressure and whatnot a part of the test of how every driver fairs with his teammate? OK, so some drivers simply got unlucky. But luck, as it goes, is sometimes no less important than talent, a good car and a good hair day...
- Damon Hill. One look at the qualifying differentials of the French Grand Prix, and you get a vivid image of the ex World Champion's nightmare and humiliation. 4.644 seconds behind his teammate, the highest differential of the race - of the season in fact! - must be a painful reminder for Damon that his time may be up, at least luck-wise.
- Zanardi. Alex Zanardi has outqualified Ralf Schumacher for the second consecutive time. Ok, the margin is small - only 0.277s separates the two Williams drivers, but hey - look at the overall average for the two - it's definitely shrinking, and should give Alex something to be satisfied about amidst his horribly luckless races.
- Irvine. After keeping a close watch on Schumacher's grid position, to the extent that he once even outqualified him, the rain came down to place a pool of a difference between the Ferrari teammates - over 4 seconds in favour of the rainmaster. It must have also rubbed it in, to see that the other Number Two, David coulthard of McLaren, achieved quite the opposite - he qualified just about the same ahead of his teammate, Mika Hakkinen.
- The Arrows Pair. Still inseparable, those two. Pedro de la Rosa and Tora Takagi seem to keep a fairly close distance from each other, come rain or come shine.
The average gap between teammates has rocketed this weekend, to 2.514 seconds. This, compared with Canada's gap of 0.588sec; Spain's average of 0.471sec; 0.671sec in Monaco; 0.601sec in San Marino; 0.446sec in Brazil; and 0.922sec in Australia.