Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton expects a stronger Vettel challenge in 2018. He believes that the German will return “all guns blazing”. He has a strong feeling that the Ferrari driver has learned from his mistakes during their 2017 championship battle. Vettel led the points table for 12 straight races at the start of the season. Later on, as the second half got underway, Hamilton picked up momentum and took the lead from him.
Vettel shot himself in the foot when he deliberately drove into Hamilton in Azerbaijan. The damage was worsened when he triggering a three-way collision with Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen in Singapore. The championship was finally settled in Hamilton’s favour after a further collision at the start of October’s Mexican Grand Prix. Vettel could only muster fourth when he needed to finish inside the top two to extend the fight another race.
Hamilton suggests that Vettel embrace the lessons he can learn from the mistakes he made during their championship contest. Hamilton said, “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. 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.”
Hamilton was unsure if his own performances created pressure under which Vettel cracked. However, he admitted that everyone would take advantage of any small weaknesses presented by their rivals. Lewis said, “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.”
So will Hamilton’s prediction of a stronger Vettel challenge come true? Will the Red Bull’s get in the mix? Will McLaren finally join the party?