The 2017 Formula One season is shaping up to be one of the most ferociously contested in years, as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton both look to have cars that are exceptionally quick, while the fact that they have won seven of the last nine World Championships between them is proof of their calibre.
Over the course of the opening five races of the season, which has seen Vettel win in Australia and Bahrain and Hamilton win in China and Spain, the rivalry between the two drivers has been very cordial, as their respect for each other has come to the fore. However, there was one incident during the Spanish Grand Prix over the weekend that suggested their battle on the track could soon turn nasty.
Hamilton and Vettel actually came within centimeters of crashing into each other during the race, and the German even resorted to ushering Hamilton off the track as he had the righter way heading into the first turn of the circuit. Hamilton ultimately managed to get past Vettel to win the race, and he is now just six points behind the Ferrari driver in the World Championship.
But while Lewis Hamilton was obviously in a joyous mood after the race because of his success, he did tease that his currently placid and respectable relationship with Sebastian Vettel could soon turn sour. After being asked how long he thought his “friendship” with Vettel would last, Hamilton suggested that it was already waning.
“I don’t know. It is difficult to say. It was a very close battle and if it had gone in a different direction, it would have been different between us. You know how racing goes. If he had hit me in turn one and had won the race, it would not have been ‘great job, Sebastian’. It was aggressive but fortunately I was still able to remain in the fight, and ultimately I avoided the collision. He was respectful, and still that respect stayed the same, but I think you could sense he was angry. He said he was angry.”
Lewis Hamilton’s comments following the Spanish Grand Prix were in stark contrast to those he made after the Chinese Grand Prix just last month when he insisted that he didn’t see any reason why his rivalry with Sebastian Vettel couldn’t stay calm and composed.
However, despite Lewis Hamilton’s suggestion that his relationship with Vettel could become increasingly volatile as the season progresses, he also made sure to underline just how much he is enjoying this back and forth with his Ferrari rival, insisting that he’s currently thriving off the competitive energy between the pair. In fact, according to the Express, after his victory in Spain, Lewis Hamilton insisted that he believes his rivalry with Sebastian Vettel has the potential to match that between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in tennis.
I love tennis, and I love watching Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the final, and what I really admire is consistency. Every hit of that ball, just one misplaced, or one into the net can mean the whole game, so I admire their concentration and I felt I had that battle with Sebastian.
During the Spanish Grand Prix, it became very much apparent just how much effort Lewis Hamilton was putting into his drive against Vettel, as at times he was unable to speak over the radio to his Mercedes because he was so breathless.
At the end of the race, the full extent of the toil and effort that Lewis Hamilton put into the race was revealed, as it was confirmed that the Englishman had lost 4 and a half pounds in weight during the the 1-hour-and-23-minute long race. But rather than being downhearted and concerned by the amount of toil he had to put in, Lewis Hamilton insisted to the Telegraph that this is exactly what the sport should be like during every race.
“To stay on Seb was a killer. He was so fast up ahead, it was such a push to keep up. It is the rawest fight I can remember having for some time, which I loved. This is how the sport needs to be every single race – it is what got me into racing from the beginning. To be able to have this battle with a four-time champion is awesome.”
We’ll get to see who comes out on top during Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s next tussle this coming weekend when the pair does battle again at the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, May 21.
[Featured Image by Mark Thompson/Getty Images]