The latest rivalry in Formula 1 is that of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. While it promises to be incredibly intense through the course of the season, Sebastian Vettel does not believe it will display a repeat of the “bitterness and hatred” seen between Aryton Senna and Alain Prost.
Vettel believes rivalries seen in the past can’t really be replicated in the same manner anymore. the German also spoke about his favourite driver as a child and how he was intrigued by the rivalry of Senna and Prost.
“As a child, I was a big Michael [Schumacher] fan…then obviously when you go through history there’s Senna versus Prost, which is the obvious one,” he said.
“I wasn’t old enough to understand. I think probably, [the best] of all time, was Senna and Prost because of the intensity and because of the differences in characters. I think it was a different time.
“I think nowadays the whole world has matured and even if you have different interests and different opinions I think we have grown up as people to be able to talk to each other despite different views on certain things.”
Prost was known for his calm and methodical approach, while Senna oozed natural talent. This was bound to result in a very feisty relationship between the two dominant racers of the time.
A number of instances took place over the course of their careers, with the pair known not be on the greatest of terms.
It went beyond that as well, with Prost believed to have blocked Senna’s move to Williams. This lasted till 1994, when the Brazilian lost his life in a tragic crash in Imola, the venue for the upcoming race.
Vettel believes that the only rivalry close to that in the modern era is the one between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. He was quick to point out why that was the case.
“I think there was a certain intensity [back then] just because people weren’t as tolerant as they are today and probably not as mature,” he said.
“There was a lot of bitterness and hatred as well, so I think we’ve come a long way since then to maybe not have these intense fights anymore off track.
“I think on the track the fights are still very intense but I think probably you would not see something like that any more in the future just because we’ve moved on and progressed.”