Lewis Hamilton expects exciting Mercedes battle with Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel wins the Australian Grand Prix
Vettel's win in Australia was his first since the Singapore GP in September 2015
Chinese Grand Prix on the BBC
Dates: 7-9 Apr Venue: Shanghai International Circuit
Coverage: Practice and qualifying on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; race on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary across the weekend on the BBC Sport website and app.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton says he expects a close season-long battle with Ferrari in which the advantage fluctuates between the two teams.

In the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel beat Hamilton, who hopes to turn the tables at the Chinese race on Sunday.

"They won it fair and square and that's what makes it exciting," Hamilton said.

"The good thing is it is closer and it is going to be margins like that. It's cool to see the racing is that close."

Hamilton admitted Ferrari "did a better job" than Mercedes in Melbourne.

"There are going to be races where that fluctuates," he said, "where perhaps they are ahead and we're behind or the other way around, but we hope to make it that we are ahead more.

"Their car is stronger in certain areas and ours is stronger in certain areas and that is what's going to make the season exciting."

Vettel, meanwhile, insisted that beating Mercedes "is not easy at all".

"We have had one race and managed to beat them but as a global installation or infrastructure they are the team to beat," said the German four-time world champion.

"It is clear what we want to do - whether we will be able to time will tell, but i think the team is on the right path.

"Mercedes has to be still the favourite. We had a very strong first race but the way we look at it in the team is we go race by race.

"We know we have a good package, which puts us in a strong place. We know there are a lot of things we need to do to keep up with them and keep the position we are in now to fight for good races."

Top Stories