Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is expecting a tight championship battle as the 2018 Formula One season draws ever nearer.
British ace Hamilton has won three of the last four drivers’ championships while Mercedes have claimed the constructors’ title in each of the last four years.
However, there were signs that Ferrari and Red Bull are ready to challenge for supremacy after both teams claimed race victories towards the end of the 2017 season.
Hamilton is expecting a tougher battle throughout 2018 but he is relishing it as he bids to become just the third driver in history to win five or more world titles.
Speaking at Mercedes’ W09 launch, Hamilton said: “Given that we ended last season with Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves very close, I anticipate this year we’ll be quite similar in that sense. So I think you’re going to see a tougher battle.”
The 33-year-old is even refusing to rule out former team, McLaren from challenging higher up the standings even though the British outfit have struggled to be competitive for a number of seasons.
He added: “Who knows, maybe there will be another team. I’m not really aware of how McLaren are doing but hopefully there are more in the mix and it’s tighter.”
Hamilton finished 46 points ahead of nearest rival Sebastian Vettel in 2017 and he is priced at 2.05 to claim the world title once again this year.