Lewis Hamilton says competing against Sebastian Vettel in the early stages of the new Formula One season has been more fun than his previous rivalry with Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes’ monopoly on both the drivers and constructors’ titles in the hybrid era meant that Hamilton’s only real rival had been team-mate Rosberg.
Their relationship was at best fraught and frequently boiled over, but is not something Hamilton has to concern himself with following Rosberg’s retirement after the German beat him to last year’s world title.
Instead Hamilton, now paired with Valtteri Bottas, has come under pressure from four-time world champion Vettel due to the improvements made by Ferrari.
Both Hamilton and Vettel have a race win and a second-place finish to their name after two events this season and, while the Briton concedes competing against a rival from another team is a different challenge, it is one he is enjoying.
Hamilton said: “It is more exciting racing another team, very much like I experienced in 2007 and 2008 [with McLaren].
HAM: “It’s more exciting going into battle against another team – especially Ferrari, who are such a historic team” #BahrainGP