Lewis Hamilton snatched the World Championship lead from teammate Nico Rosberg after a dramatic Singapore GP on Sunday that saw the latter's race end due to an electronic problem. The win, Hamilton's seventh of the season, took him a slender three points clear of his Mercedes teammate.
The fierce rivalry between the two teammates has only added to the drama this F1 season. It came to came to the boil when they collided at the Belgium GP.
However, India's first F1 driver, Narain Karthikeyan, says the rivalry is making the sport more enjoyable for fans.
"The Nico Rosberg-Lewis Hamilton rivalry is great for the fans. The team (Mercedes) has to control them, but I haven't seen them go overboard. Both the drivers still seem to respect each other.
"Great rivalries like Ayrton Senna vs Alain Prost or Niki Lauda vs James Hunt have lent huge excitement to F1. Of course, the eras are different.
The Hunt and Lauda era was a more laidback one. But the 1976 season was an epic one and made F1 the sport that it is today," Karthikeyan (37) told mid-day, referring to exciting rivalry between Hunt and Lauda in 1976, that saw the latter end-up in a near-fatal crash at the German GP back then.
Mercedes' teammates and Formula One World Championship rivals Lewis Hamilton (left) and Nico Rosberg in Monza, Italy recently. Pic/AFP
A film on the '76 season, Rush, premieres on Movies Now on Sunday (1pm & 9pm).
Hunt is no more, while Lauda is now Mercedes' non-executive chairman and had famously predicted back in July that Nico and Lewis will fight tooth and nail to be World Champion.
For Karthikeyan though, it was too tough to call. "Both drivers are pretty equal, so the drivers' championship is going to be very close. Rosberg can take his chances better while Lewis is the faster driver, so it's very difficult to call."
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