Hamilton says Vettel rivalry 'could be worse' in 2018

Hamilton says Vettel rivalry 'could be worse' in 2018

Hamilton says Vettel rivalry 'could be worse' in 2018

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen insisted the new halo on Ferrari's 2018 auto would not hinder performance as the Italian stable chases a first Formula One title in a decade.

The German's world championship bid fell away after leading eventual champion Lewis Hamilton by 14 points going into the summer break. Other changes include an aggressive sidepod and bargeboard setup - an area where development is expected to be key in F1 this year, changes to the cooling system, an updated suspension concept, and a general overhaul of the car's aerodynamics.

The vehicle also features a protective halo device that is mandatory for all cars this season.

"You have to expect that it could be worse", he said at the launch of the new Mercedes vehicle at Silverstone.

And, having previously expressed hope that his former team McLaren and former team-mate Fernando Alonso can return to front-running contention, Hamilton added: "Who knows, maybe there will be another team".

"This year, the fact that it is going to be a closer season, we have no idea what we're going to face".

Mercedes are once again favourites heading into the Formula One season, with bookmakers Neds listing Lewis Hamilton at $2.10 to win his fifth World Championship, while the team is $1.57 favourites to take out the constructors title.

Hamilton says Vettel rivalry 'could be worse' in 2018

"Always expect the worst and hopefully it will be better". I am focused on making sure I perform at my best.

"Honestly, I don't play mind games", he said.

The halo-fitted new vehicle was shown off at Ferrari's Maranello base on Thursday, four days before the start of F1's pre-season testing at Barcelona.

"It will continue to be a part of my life but how deep I go we will see".

The new challenger has a longer wheelbase to move it more into line with rival Mercedes' design.

He was more effusive in his praise of the W09's performance despite his reservations over the halo.

"Give me a chainsaw and I'd cut it off", he said at the launch of Mercedes' 2018 auto. "If you gave me a chainsaw, I would take it off. We need to tackle that and come up with a solution that looks better".

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