Lewis Hamilton feels Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will be difficult to beat in 2018, and he will not underestimate the challenge from Scuderia Ferrari either.
Red Bull has shown good pace during the two pre-season tests at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya across the past two weeks, and the reigning World Champion feels his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team could face a much stronger challenge from the Milton Keynes-based outfit this year, which he feels can only be beneficial to the sport.
“The ultimate goal is that we hopefully have more teams fighting for the championship,” Hamilton is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com on Thursday. “That’s only good for the sport. I’m really hopeful, and I think Red Bull could be a real challenge this year.
“Their car looks great, and I’ve not really seen anything of the Ferrari but I’m sure that’s good as well. It’s really exciting.”
Hamilton admits Mercedes has yet to go for low fuel runs with Pirelli’s softest tyres, but looking at Vettel’s lap record-breaking time on Thursday, the reigning World Champion hopes it means Ferrari do have a strong car in 2018, and he feels his team will have a race on their hands this season.
“I don’t know if that’s a good time,” said Hamilton. “I don’t know if it’s a qualifying run, I don’t really care. It’s testing. It’s really irrelevant, whatever the time.
“What matters is where we are in qualifying, in Q3 in the first race, when everyone’s on lower fuel. We’ve not been on lower fuel yet, so I have no idea where the car can go.
“I hope [Vettel’s lap] is good, I hope it’s a good time so that means that they’re strong, and that means that we’ve got a race on our hands.”