Lewis Hamilton has now equaled Alain Prost’s 51 career wins in the Formula 1 all time winners list. 30 of Hamilton’s wins being with his Mercedes team.
Michael Schumacher heads up the list with 91 wins. Prost holds 4 World Championships with Hamilton just behind him on 3 World Championships.
The equal number of wins each is not the only comparison that can be drawn between the two drivers. Their on track rivalry with respective team mates is legendary.
There have been numerous incidents between Mercedes team mates Hamilton and Nico Rosberg since Hamilton joined the team in 2013, problems ranging from issues with engine modes to ignoring team race orders.
But even their rivalry would have to go some way to surpass the rivalry between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
Senna joined Prost at Mclaren in 1988. The following year at the Japanese Grand Prix, Prost had a 16 point lead on Senna. In the closing laps of the race Prost and Senna collided. Prost got out of his car and walked back to the pits no doubt thinking he had done enough to secure the Championship but Senna rejoined the race after the cars were separated, his car bump started and a pit stop completed to repair damage to the car. Senna took the lead after shifting past Benneton’s Alessandro Nannini.
Post race Senna was disqualified for cutting the earlier chicane and cutting into pit lane entry. He was later given a 6 month temporary suspension and fined $100,000.
Suspicions of favouritism toward Prost and internal politics incensed Senna and he almost quit McLaren over the incident.
Eventually in 1990 Alain Prost left McLaren to join Ferrari. Later in the same year, again during the Japanese Grand Prix, the pair crashed, effectively making Senna the drivers champion. After the incident, Senna commented to the effect that it was not how he wanted the race to go but how it had to be. Which led many including Prost to conclude that it was done in answer to the incident at Suzuka the year before.
Prost went on to join Williams in 1993. Senna was also keen to race for the successful team but Prost allegedly had a clause written into his contract that Ayrton Senna could never be his team mate. Prost retired from Formula 1 later that year.
Alain Prost himself has taken to twitter to express his expectations that Hamilton will exceed his 51 wins. Hamilton has stated what an honour it is to be up there with the likes of Prost.
Allison Remzi Header photo ©Andy Fitzpatrick