Matching Formula 1 Drivers To Their Rapper Counterparts
Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Formula 1 has been defined by its characters ever since the beginning. Names like Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher have made the sport a worldwide phenomenon. Perhaps with the rise of the digital age and the influence of social media, each driver’s personality is amplified even more.
This season, we’ve continued to see the clash of the ice-cold Max Verstappen with the bubbly Lewis Hamilton. The wittiness of fan-favorite Fernando Alonso has returned while bright-eyed rookies Yuki Tsunoda and Nikita Mazepin are finding their way.
There is a special competitiveness that F1 represents as it brings out sides of people that aren’t always about good vibes and positivity. But it’s all for the love of the race.
One of the most competitive art forms is rap. It’s a game all its own as the battle to the top is unlike any other music genre. Artists like 50 Cent, Skepta and Megan Thee Stallion have shown that someone can be a cutthroat rapper and also a human.
While the teams get back in racing form as they prep for the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, let’s take a look at each F1 driver and their rapper counterpart. The list is in reverse order of the current driver’s championship at the summer break.
Nikita Mazepin x Flo Milli
Both Nikita Mazepin and Flo Milli are ones to watch. The Formula 1 driver is in his rookie season with Haas and is holding it down for his home country of Russia. Flo Milli is putting the rap game on alert and was named a 2021 XXL Freshman as she proudly reps Mobile, Alabama. The year 2018 was a significant one for both as Mazepin finished as the runner-up in the GP3 championship and was building buzz while Flo Milli officially released her “Beef FloMix,” which went viral on TikTok and gave her momentum for her first full-length project, 2020’s “Ho, Why is You Here?” The driver and rapper have taken their own talents and made their dreams come true.
Mick Schumacher x Lil' Romeo
Mick Schumacher has the unenviable job of living up to his father’s legacy. Michael Schumacher is of course one of the winningest drivers in the sport and one of the iconic names that people cling to dearly. The 22-year-old made his Formula 1 debut this season with Haas. He’s yet to finish in the points, but showed an incredible defensive grit at the Hungarian Grand Prix. When thinking of rappers who had to live in their father’s shadow, Lil' Romeo comes to mind. As the son of the illustrious Master P, Lil’ Romeo had his work cut out for him. He does have a gold album under his belt and “My Baby” had its moment. He never built an empire like No Limit, but has his own brand of swag and grit. And that’s totally ok.
Antonio Giovinazzi x A$AP Rocky
Antonio Giovinazzi is the Italian Stallion whose been steadily grinding away since his debut with Sauber in 2017. Despite his status as somewhat seasoned, he might not come to mind right away when listing off Formula 1 drivers. Now with Alfa Romeo, Giovinazzi has yet to podium in his career and his highest finish was fifth at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. But his cool demeanor and signature mane have given him his own distinct brand. A$AP Rocky is in a similar situation as his A$AP Mob came up in the game with Tyler, The Creator and Odd Future at the same time that Kendrick Lamar and Drake were cutting their teeth. But while the other rappers listed have won Grammys, Pulitzers and Artist of the Decade awards, Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye hasn’t seemed too worried about keeping up. Instead, he’s continued to grow his presence in fashion and beauty. GQ even gave him a title utterly unique to him, “Prettiest Man Alive.”
Kimi Räikkönen x Juicy J
Now in his early 40s, Kimi Räikkönen is Antonio Giovinazzi’s teammate at Alfa Romeo and still competes fiercely with the 27-year-old and the entire grid. Räikkönen won the 2007 driver’s championship in his first year Ferrari (replacing Michael Schumacher nonetheless) and has won 21 races in his career. He’s a certified vet with plenty of fuel still in the tank. Juicy J has also made his own mark on the rap game. His version of a driver’s championship would be his Academy Award for Best Song when Three 6 Mafia won for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” But that was far from his only success as a rapper. He has 12 Hot 100 songs and several gold and platinum plaques. And he’s been a major part of A$AP Rocky’s career, giving the Harlemite a verse on “Multiply” and gracing with some unforgettable ad-libs on A$AP Mob’s “Yamborghini High.”
George Russell x slowthai
Two rising British stars are George Russell and slowthai. Russell has climbed the ranks of motorsport and made his Formula 1 debut in 2019 with Williams. Despite team struggles, he’s shown exemplary fortitude and become a fan favorite. He's mentored by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff got a big break at the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020 when Lewis Hamilton tested positive for the coronavirus. While replacing the world champion, Russell raced fiercely in his debut with Mercedes and spent a good portion of the race in first before different factors led him to a ninth place finish. Rumors continue to flow that that day was not the Englishman’s last for the Silver Arrows. slowthai has also materialized as a promising rap star who’s defied the odds as he blends punk elements into his music. He's had support from industry heavyweights Skepta and A$AP Rocky and sophomore effort, “Tyron,” was the No.1 album in the United Kingdom, showing that grit and determination can get you in the right place to win.
Nicholas Latifi x Lil Baby
While the best of the best in both Formula 1 and the rap game usually start their crafts as kids and grow into their success, both Nicholas Latifi and Lil Baby broke the mold. At 13 and 21 respectively, they both got into karting and music a little older than the rest of the field. But their passion and commitment allowed them to excel. Latifi wowed in 2019 to take second place in the Formula 2 championship, which gave way to his Formula 1 rookie campaign in 2020. Lil Baby released his first mixtape in 2017 and built his name working hard with Quality Control before releasing his extremely popular “My Turn” album the same year as Latifi’s debut with Williams.
Lance Stroll x Rapsody
Many like to point out that Lance Stroll’s career has gotten a big boost because his father, Lawrence, is a billionaire and helps fund every team his son's been on, including the resurrection of Aston Martin this year. But the young Canadian holds his own and has become respected as a consistent driver. Rapsody’s career took off with the support of legendary producer 9th Wonder. But don’t get the idea that she is here exclusively because of that. The North Carolina rapper has three Grammy nominations, the same number of podiums as Stroll.
Yuki Tsunoda x Baby Keem
At 20 years old, Yuki Tsunoda is the grid’s youngest driver this year and he’s caused lots of excitement, finishing ninth in his first-ever race at the Bahrain Grand Prix. He’s collected 18 points so far and had his best finish yet before the summer break, finishing sixth at Hungaroring. Baby Keem is also a promising star who’s been showing flashes of brilliance. Many know him from “Orange Soda,” but have been treated to his creative vision with the singles “hooligan” and “no sense” along with “durag activity” with Travis Scott. And Cactus Jack isn’t the only star helping Baby Keem. His cousin Kendrick Lamar has been giving him advice and even appeared on his latest single, “Family Ties.” Like Tsunoda, momentum is all in Baby Keem’s favor.
Sebastian Vettel x J. Cole
Good ole vets who make us believe in the game. That’s what Sebastian Vettel and J. Cole are to their respective industries. Vettel is a four-time world champion while J. Cole has five platinum albums to his name, three of which have no features of course. Although both are extremely fierce competitors, they are also genuinely human. Seb helps pick up trash and celebrated a couple who got engaged while Jermaine made sure fans waiting in line for his Dollar and a Dream Tour were given water and he’s known to be spotted flying coach or taking the bus just like the rest of us.
Fernando Alonso x 50 Cent
Fernando Alonso is a legend who will continue gracing Formula 1 with his presence on Alpine next season. He is in elite company as a back-to-back world champion when he dominated in 2005 and 2006 with Renault. After the rise of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, the Spaniard took a break from the sport after the 2018 season. He returned this year to show the young kids how it’s done. There are few rappers who have dominated like 50 Cent has, going back-to-back in his own way with his skyrocketing success through “Get Rich or Die Tryin'’” and “The Massacre.” After the hype for his music died down, he pivoted quite effortlessly to make a television empire. And, as Alonso continues to race, he can still drop bars as last year, he assisted the late Pop Smoke with “The Woo” and released the ultra-nostalgic “Part of the Game.” If that case wasn’t strong enough for why these two are twin flames, their personalities are just as remarkable as all their achievements.
Esteban Ocon x The Kid Laroi
Frenchman Esteban Ocon has grinded away to make his name in Formula 1. He made his debut in 2016 with the now-defunct Manor team. After putting in work with Force India and Renault, he’s had his strongest season yet with Alpine. Ocons riding high off his first-ever race win at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Kid Laroi has had his own ascent in the rap game, bubbling with his “F*ck Love” project and taking over airwaves with songs like “Go,” “So Done” and “Without You.” He’s also riding the wave of his strongest momentum yet with the Justin Bieber-assisted “Stay.” It's certified platinum at hit the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart earlier this month.
Daniel Ricciardo x French Montana
The life of the party. That’s what Daniel Ricciardo and French Montana are. Both are respected veterans of their craft, but know how to have a good time even in the midst of intense competition. Danny Ric has indeed shone since his first Formula 1 win at the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix. He’s since won seven races and battled for the championship in his time at Red Bull. French Montana came on the scene in the 2010s alongside heavyweights Drake, Rick Ross and A$AP Rocky. Songs like “No Stylist,” “Lockjaw,” “Off the Rip” and “Pop That” put the game on alert that the Coke Boys leader meant business. His “Mac and Cheese” mixtape series and Ricciardo’s Honey Badger persona show the playful sides of competition. Both also serve as bridges between generations. While the New Yorker is a friend and supporter of the Wave God Max B and also helped craft the career of the late Chinx, Ricciardo is preparing for his 200th race as he got his F1 chance thanks to the legend Dr. Helmut Marko and now serves as the McLaren teammate to rising star Lando Norris.
Pierre Gasly x Bobby Shmurda
Pierre Gasly has had many ups and downs in his short Formula 1 career. In 2019, he realized the dream of racing for Red Bull, one of the top teams in the game. But he was demoted to AlphaTauri after he couldn’t hang with the big boys. He also lost his dear friend, Anthoine Hubert, when the Formula 2 driver crashed and was killed at Spa that same year. Bobby Shmurda is no stranger to adversity as he was arrested in 2014 with members of the GS9 gang on conspiracy, drug and gun charges. He finally took a plea deal in 2016 for seven years in prison and was released this year to much celebration. Last season, Gasly had his own redemption celebration when he shocked the world by winning in Monza. He continues to remind Red Bull of his promise as he was third at Azerbaijan this year. Shmurda has been making several guest appearances, including the wildly popular "Tata" remix, since his release to remind the world of his own star power.
Charles Leclerc x Saweetie
What’s cooler than being the face of Ferrari? Ice cold! Charles LeClerc joined the famed team in 2019 and impressed right away, winning at Spa and then his hometown of Monaco. A year later Scuderia signed the young star through 2024. Not even the great Michael Schumacher got such a contract. With his style and charisma, LeClerc has the potential to be a true international icon. Saweetie has impressed with her own strong branding, turning her “Icy Girl” anthem into much more than a song, but a lifestyle. And she wasn’t just a one-hit wonder, she’s delivered again and again with songs like “Best Friend,” “My Type” and “Tap In.” Oh, and she has her own McDonald’s meal. We present to you the king and queen of sealing the deal.
Carlos Sainz x Vince Staples
Real Gs move in silence like lasagna. Yes, that’s a Lil Wayne line, but it could apply to both Carlos Sainz and Vince Staples. Neither one are especially vocal or demanding of attention, but both make their presence known through consistent work and dedication. They both are also paving the way as new legends representing their homes. Sainz came onto the scene in 2015 as the promising new Spaniard. As Fernando Alonso went on retirement, it was on Sainz to uphold the country’s legacy. And he’s done that with a promising run with Ferrari so far in his first season with Scuderia, including a second-place finish at Monaco and a third-place finish at Hungary. For his part, Vince Staples is widely regarded as the new voice of the much-respected Long Beach rap scene. Whereas Snoop Dogg is widely known for his uber chill, godfatherly demeanor, Staples is taking the reins with uncanny authenticity. He released his third studio album, “Vince Staples,” this year and, like Sainz, is poised to continue making people talk.
Sergio Pérez x ScHoolboy Q
Both Sergio Pérez and ScHoolboy Q have made their unique marks on their industries as they've played supporting roles and taken victories of their own. Checo made his Formula 1 debut for Sauber in 2011. That same year, Groovy Q released his first full-length project, "Setbacks." The driver and the rapper haven't been the face of their respective industries, but the Mexican racer got his first win last year at the Sakhir Grand Prix after grinding away for nearly a decade. His dedication and commitment earned him a seat on Red Bull, where he's been exemplary in helping the team compete for the constructor's championship. The Los Angeles-bred rapper has his own taste of success with five Grammy nominations and more than a dozen gold and platinum plaques. But similar to Pérez, he's just as much a teammate of Top Dawg Entertainment as pursuing his own victories.
Valtteri Bottas x Lloyd Banks
Neither Valtteri Bottas nor Lloyd Banks will probably be remembered as the best to ever do it, but they’ve been integral parts of major movements. Bottas joined Mercedes in 2017, a year where he saw his first pole positions (four of them) and got his maiden victory at the Russian Grand Prix. He now has a total of nine race wins. As a member of the Silver Arrows, he’s been a part of four constructor’s championships and witnessed teammate Lewis Hamilton win four driver’s championships. In a similar way, Lloyd Banks and his raw street persona were key building blocks of the G-Unit glory days. After the massive success of 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” Lloyd Banks made his own splash with his album, “The Hunger for More,” which debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart. With Bottas' lone wolf mentality as part of his Finnish heritage and Banks' own reclusive nature, they are both sides of the same coin.
Lando Norris x Jack Harlow
Lando Norris has wowed the grid this year with his grit and determination. Now in his sophomore season, the McLaren driver seems to have a new level of confidence as he’s landed on the podium three times and was the only driver to score points in every race until he was part of the bowling ball crash at Hungaroring. Fellow fresh face Jack Harlow has also established himself as an elite force in the rap game. An unassuming white boy from Louisville is the last person you’d think would take over with songs like "WHATS POPPIN," "Tyler Herro," and "SUVs" dominating the charts. But with smooth authenticity, infectious beats and an undeniable ability to ride big waves, Jack Harlow is the guy.
Max Verstappen x Megan Thee Stallion
Both Max Verstappen and Megan Thee Stallion are past the point of “rising stars” — Max having 50 podiums to his name and Megan having 20 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart — yet they’re still young enough to say they have a full future ahead. The Red Bull driver, who is in his Jordan Year, has yet to win his first driver’s championship and is currently a mere eight points away from the leader. It’s harder to say what the ultimate crown is in rap, especially when the Houston MC did win three Grammys this year, but at the age of 26, she’s not stopping any time soon. The similarities between the two extend into their families as both of Max’s parents were racecar drivers (his dad being Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen) and Megan’s mother was a locally-renowned rapper who brought her daughter to the studio with her. And of course, we couldn’t do this piece without mentioning Megan’s glorious orange Dolce and Gabbana gown that she wore to the Grammys. It’s a perfect homage to Max’s Dutch heritage.
Lewis Hamilton x Skepta
As Lewis Hamilton has become an international celebrity because of his involvement in fashion, environmentalism and the social justice movement, he’s also become an entry point into the world of F1 for many fans. The same can be said about Skepta, who's a fashion and culture icon himself. A casual hip-hop fan might not know who Wiley or Kano are (unless they watch “Top Boy”), but they’ve definitely heard Skepta on A$AP Rocky’s “Praise The Lord” or Drake’s “Skepta Interlude.” Both Hamilton and Skepta are winners and groundbreakers — the Mercedes driver tied the record for most driver's championships when he won his seventh last year and the BBK boss won the 2016 Mercury Award for best album with "Konnichiwa" and took home two prizes for songwriting at the usually-white-dominated Ivor Novello Awards in 2017. Hamilton and Skepta are great at what they do as they balance the role of British charmers with a fierce competitive nature that can’t be messed with.