Hamilton expecting, but not scared by, challenge from Vettel in 2018

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Lewis Hamilton revealed that, whilst he’s expecting 2017 title rival Sebastian Vettel to “be coming back guns blazing” in 2018, he told Motorsport.com that he doesn’t feel “there’s anything [he] can’t achieve” if he “puts the work in”.

Hamilton had a shaky start to the 2017 season, falling to twenty points behind Vettel by the ninth round and trailing the German until the thirteenth round. Thanks both to a good run of results and some non-finishes for Vettel, the Brit quickly took the top spot, holding it until the end.

This leaking of points and eventual defeat led to some questionable incidents involving Vettel throughout the season. Deliberate contact with Hamilton in Baku, a three-car collision in Singapore and unintentional contact with Hamilton in Mexico all damaged Vettel’s chances – and, importantly, gave Hamilton a glimpse at Vettel under pressure.

Whilst they may not be his finest moments, Lewis says that there is a lot he’s learned from these incidents – and that there is a lot Vettel can learn from these incidents too.

“I’m not going to tell you what I’ve learned but you can see it and I think you guys have learned about him.

“He shouldn’t shy away from that. He will learn from the experiences, as we all do.

“I have had years like that. He has had years of complete solidity like [mine] this year as well.”

Hamilton went on to say that whilst he’s expecting Vettel to come back at full force in 2018, he’s got the self-belief necessary to succeed and knows how to spot when Vettel’s starting to crack.

“I imagine next year he’s going to be coming back guns blazing, but I don’t feel there’s anything I can’t achieve if I put the work in.

“Pressure points, weak points – you just keep your foot down, keep the pressure on and when the other shows no sign of weakness that’s definitely difficult.

“Look at Federer and Nadal, at some point in the game one will see a slight weakness in the other – even if just half a percent.

“That’s what they try to capitalise on and which makes the difference, and that’s really how it has been this year.”