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Formula 1

This Is the Most Unpopular Formula 1 Driver

Photo: Carlos Santiago / Pexels

Twenty drivers line up at the start in Formula 1. Despite all the rivalry, some are friends with each other. However, one is considered particularly unpopular.

After a Formula 1 race weekend, the stars often fly home together. For example, three-time world champion Max Verstappen frequently shares his private jet with Nico Hülkenberg back to Monaco, where both Formula 1 drivers live.

Despite his often direct manner and tough maneuvers on the track, Verstappen is considered one of the most popular drivers in the field.

Ocon, the least popular driver

However, one driver who will likely never sit in Verstappen’s private jet is Esteban Ocon. The French Alpine driver enjoys a dubious reputation among the drivers. Many Formula 1 stars have issues with Ocon, who races for Alpine, according to Heute.

Verstappen has had problems with him due to Ocon’s questionable overtaking maneuvers. Fernando Alonso and Ocon did not get along during their time together at Renault/Alpine, and the 27-year-old Frenchman and his former Force India teammate Sergio Perez also share a significant rivalry that dates back to 2017.

At that time, Perez said about Ocon: “We are both very professional, but we spent little time together outside the cockpit. It was different with my previous teammates.”

The relationship with his current teammate Pierre Gasly is particularly tense. The two Frenchmen from Normandy were once close childhood friends, competing together in kart races. Since then, a fierce rivalry has developed, making it long unthinkable for them to be on the same team.

However, Ocon and Gasly have now come to terms with each other, even though their joint era at Alpine began with a severe crash in Australia in 2023.

Teammates and Friends

That things can be different is shown by Gasly. The Frenchman is good friends with his long-time teammate Yuki Tsunoda at Alpha Tauri, now the Racing Bulls racing team. This friendship continues to this day.

The same goes for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and his long-time Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, due to their good relationship during their time together at McLaren, were nicknamed “Carlando.”

The fact that friendship can emerge from enmity is demonstrated by the two Haas drivers, Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen. After the Hungary Grand Prix of 2017, Hülkenberg called the Dane “the most unfair driver,” to which he retorted: “Suck my balls, honey.” After years of silence, the two new fathers have now established a collegial relationship.

The Loners

McLaren talent Oscar Piastri, Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu, and Williams driver Logan Sargeant are considered loners and not affiliated with any group.

In contrast, the British Formula 1 drivers Norris, George Russell, and Alexander Albon form a tight-knit clique. A similar situation exists between Sainz and the Mexican Perez, who both live in Madrid and became friends during long joint flights.

Given all the minor and major skirmishes, it’s not surprising that aside from the driver meetings at the race track, there are hardly any gatherings with all the drivers.

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