Hamilton wishing for more ‘head-to-head’ Vettel battles

Lewis Hamilton says he has loved going head-to-head with Sebastian Vettel for the 2018 Formula 1 title this season and wishes he had more fights with the Ferrari driver.

Hamilton came out on top of wheel-to-wheel battles with Vettel in two of the last four grands prix, in Italy and Russia, which was crucial to his victories in both races.

It has helped put Hamilton on the brink of a fifth title, with Vettel 67-points behind with four races left.

Asked by Motorsport.com how much it means to him to have beaten Vettel in racing situations, Hamilton said: “I love that we have those races and those battles. I wish to have more of them.

“Being able to go up head-to-head with the guy you’re competing with, [see] who brakes earliest, who falters, is the ultimate challenge of your mental stability under that pressure.

“I always welcome them and I’m glad, I’m grateful we have had some of those moments, like in the last race [in Russia].

“The strategy didn’t work out well but it was actually good for giving me the opportunity to show my abilities at those pressured moments.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Sutton Images

Hamilton and Vettel traded the points lead over the first half of the season, but Hamilton has broken clear by winning the last four races.

He can seal the championship in the upcoming United States Grand Prix, where he needs to outscore Vettel by eight points to clinch the crown with three rounds remaining.

Asked if there was any personal disappointment not to be racing Vettel more closely in the run-in, Hamilton said: “When we were having a race like Monza [where Hamilton had to catch and pass Kimi Raikkonen to win], for me I love that race. I would be happy to have that at every race following that.

“I honestly thought that was how it was going to be, given they were so strong in the previous two races.

“But yeah, they’ve just lost a lot of performance and it’s been a little bit difficult for them.

“Of course I would love to race right to the end, every single race I want battles like Monza. Those are the races that I love and welcome them more and more.

“Unfortunately it just isn’t the case. I can’t let that take away from the great job we’re doing and from our happiness.”

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