Published: Wed, April 12, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Lewis Hamilton 'grateful' to have chance to fight Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton 'grateful' to have chance to fight Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton says he is relishing the prospect of battling it out with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel for the 2017 Formula One world championship.

Hamilton had a tense relationship with Nico Rosberg in their duel for dominance at Mercedes, which has dominated the last three seasons.

The German won by nearly 10 seconds from the Briton and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a commanding victory of tactics and superior speed around the Albert Park street circuit.

"Definitely", he replied when asked if he was anticipating a greater challenge from Vettel than Rosberg.

"You are seeing the best against the best", he told reporters. "Of course it would be great to have Fernando [Alonso of McLaren] up there but it doesn't look like it is going to happen any time soon".

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"Incredible effort, incredible with both drivers, and now Valtteri just fitted in and kept doing fantastic job for the team so [there's] no weak link from the outside, at least not one we can see, so they'll be the team to beat".

"I am really grateful to have that fight with him, against Ferrari which is the next best team, and there is a top driver there, too". Vettel controlled the race from there, with Hamilton lackingf the pace to put the Ferrari driver under pressure.

Vettel and Hamilton dueled for the 2010 crown, with the German winning for Red Bull as then-McLaren driver Hamilton missed out.

"I want to be closer with cars, more close wheel-to-wheel battling".

"Obviously right now it looks like we have equal machinery".

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Vettel's first win since the Singapore GP in September 2015 was final proof Mercedes' domination is over after the introduction of faster cars.

Vettel: "To cut it short, great respect". Mercedes won 19 of the 21 F1 Global Positioning System in 2016, and Red Bull collected the other two titles.

Consequently, the name of the game is going to be under-cutting and over-cutting in terms of pit stops, with the hard wearing 2017 tyres, that will often mean one-stop strategies, thereby adding to the sport's malaise. Hamilton never came close to catching him. "I hope it turns out that way and we will see how it turns out but it's obviously a lot of fun to race for victories against the best".

"I am going home after this - usually I stay out in Asia and train in the hot weather - but I will get my head down, rest and make sure I come back fighting for the next race in China". "We have been very fortunate in the last three years that we've won most of our races - now it is about accepting that Ferrari have beaten us".

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