Hamilton: Vettel tougher than Rosberg

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Lewis Hamilton is poised for a more difficult battle with Sebastian Vettel this season than in the past three years with Nico Rosberg.

Speaking last weekend after the Ferrari driver's win in Melbourne, the Mercedes star said he is expecting tougher competition from Vettel than what he encountered previously from his team mate.

"I think this year we're seeing the best drivers at the top," Hamilton said.

"Obviously it would be great to have Fernando [Alonso] up there, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon.

"At least we have a great driver in Sebastian with his four titles, [who had] an incredible surge into Formula 1, continues to be a force and will continue to be for many years to come.

"I'm really grateful to have that fight with him, against Ferrari. It's great."

The Brit refrained however from extending on the comparison between Vettel and retired world champion Nico Rosberg.

"I haven't had many races up against Sebastian but we've always had a respectful relationship," he said.

"I think there's a great amount of respect there between us and I'm sure that will continue to grow."

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