By Williams ‘Bantu’ Irubor
Lewis Hamilton has predicted the initiative would swing back and forth between the two teams throughout the season, after tying Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on points with his victory in the Chinese Grand Prix.
“It is close,” he said. “I am down for it. I am looking forward to the fight with Sebastian and the other guys are going to be in amongst it.”
Hamilton’s win in Shanghai means he and Vettel have a victory and a second place apiece after the first two races.
Hamilton gained the advantage in China through early strategy calls in a chaotic opening few laps but the race eventually distilled to a battle between him and Vettel in the closing laps, the two cars separated by about eight seconds.
Hamilton said: “We are both pushing. It’s great, last 20 laps, exchanging times, he was closing the gap a little bit, but I managed to stay ahead.”
The 32-year-old won two of his three titles in last-race showdowns, beating Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in 2008 only when he passed a car on the last corner of the final lap of the last race.
Hamilton also tied on points with then-McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso in 2007, the pair finishing one point behind champion Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.
But Hamilton said he believed this year’s battle could be the toughest he has yet had.
“It is going to be one of the closest ones – if not the closest – I have ever experienced,” he said.