Hamilton and Vettel relishing head-to-head battle

"Obviously it would be great to have Fernando [Alonso] up there, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon".

Hamilton: "I'm going to get you back!" "He's proven to be one of the quickest drivers on the grid", Vettel continued.

Over the past three years, triple world champion Hamilton has had only his teammate, the now-retired 2016 title victor Nico Rosberg, and reliability to worry about with Mercedes winning 51 of 59 races up to Melbourne.

"I'm really grateful to have that fight with him, against Ferrari". The race will be on April 9 and will be held at the Shanghai International Circuit.

They are also the two youngest World Championship victor, with Vettel breaking Hamilton's record in 2010 when he triumphed at the age of 23 and 133 days. Hamilton said before the start of this season that Ferrari were hiding their true pace, and he was right. "He was relatively close", Hamilton said.

Ferrari had an abysmal year in 2016, struggling to match Mercedes' pace, and shooting itself in the foot with bad strategy calls when it did have the opportunity to steal wins.

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"I'm not anxious about that, I think like I said in general in the weekend overall, although at times I feel it wasn't ideal, but I think it was a decent start with the team and the new age for me and my career". Hamilton and Vettel looked pretty evenly matched for most of it, and though there wasn't much overtaking, there often isn't at Melbourne, so we'll reserve judgment on that one.

The Formula One Australian Grand Prix on Sunday not only gave fans their first glimpse of the new cars in a race situation, but also the new pecking order. He saw no reason to change his mind after Melbourne, saying that the increased turbulence from the auto in front makes overtaking more hard.

Between Hamilton and Vettel, the duo have won seven of the last nine championships since Hamilton won his maiden title in 2008. Only Britain's Jenson Button, in 2009, and Germany's Rosberg last season interrupted their success.

Recent seasons have been dominated by Mercedes with no other teams coming close.

Lewis Hamilton believes his rivalry with Sebastian Vettel will see the "best against the best" going for this season's F1 title.

  • Ronnie Bowen