Vettel will come back "guns blazing" in 2018 – Hamilton


Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton expects title rival Sebastian Vettel to return “all guns blazing” in 2018, having learned from his major errors during their 2017 championship battle.

Vettel led the points standings for 12 straight races at the start of the season, before losing out as Hamilton went on a winning surge after the August break.

Losing potential victories by deliberately driving into Hamilton in Azerbaijan and triggering a three-way collision with Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen in Singapore caused major damage to Vettel’s title challenge.

The championship was finally settled in Hamilton’s favour after a further collision at the start of October’s Mexican Grand Prix, in which Vettel could only recover to fourth when he needed to finish inside the top two to extend the fight another race.

Hamilton says Vettel should embrace the lessons he can learn from the mistakes he made during their championship contest.

“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,” Hamilton said.

“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 said he couldn’t know whether his own performances created pressure under which Vettel cracked, but said it was always the aim to take advantage of any small weaknesses presented by his rivals.

“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,” Hamilton added.

“Look at [tennis stars Roger] Federer and [Rafael] 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.”