Lewis Hamilton is expecting Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to again be the main challenger to Mercedes’ bid for success in the 2019 season.
The 33-year-old British driver claimed his fifth career Formula 1 drivers’ crown in 2018 after again having to make up ground on Vettel who made a strong start to the campaign for the second successive year.
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Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will again be vying to bring more success to Mercedes next year, while Vettel will be joined by Charles Leclerc at Ferrari.
Red Bull will also look to pose more of a threat with their new Honda engine partnership and Pierre Gasly replacing Daniel Ricciardo to race alongside Max Verstappen.
And, while Hamilton is hopeful that competition for both titles widens beyond two teams in the new year, he can’t see past Vettel as the big threat to his drivers’ crown.
When asked who is likely to be his main challenger, he said: “I would imagine it’s going to be Sebastian. And Valtteri [Bottas] alongside me.”
On Red Bull, Hamilton added: “They’ve been very strong at the end of the year, they’ve got a new engine next year. Will it be able to compete with ours? I hope so, because that would be epic if Red Bull could really start to mingle with us a bit more, weekend in, weekend out.
“They’ve got to obviously improve on their reliability, which has been a big downfall for them this year.”