The Lewis Hamilton-Sebastian Vettel battle could develop into “one of the great rivalries in the sport”, according to Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.
Hamilton is on course to win his third Drivers’ Championship, which would leave him one shy of Vettel’s tally of four, while the two are now level on 42 wins in Formula 1 following the Mercedes driver’s victory in Russia.
The Briton admitted in the build-up to the race in Sochi that he “can’t wait” and is “dying to” go wheel-to-wheel with Vettel like Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna used to.
After the race he again said he wished Vettel, who finished second, was a bit closer so that they “could have a race”, while the two also joked about trading fastest laps.
Wolff admits it would be good for the sport if Ferrari and Vettel are a bit closer to Mercedes and Hamilton over the next few years.
“They are both in very performing cars and it could be one of the great rivalries in the sport – in different teams,” Wolff is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com
“Lewis has his own rivalry within the team so that is good. It is great for the sport and it is going to push us, as it is the team you want to be battling with.”
Ferrari have certainly upped their game this year as Vettel has already won three races and is now ahead of Nico Rosberg in the standings.
“It is great for the sport and it is going to push us, as it is the team you want to be battling with,” Wolff said.
“We expect them to be very strong next year. They showed great performance earlier than expected and again, towards the end of the race, you can see Sebastian had good pace in his car and his tyres.
“This is a good group of people with a very good car, and we are looking forward to a great fight next year.”