Lewis Hamilton remains confident of championship success despite early setback

Lewis Hamilton thinks Mercedes now have a race on their hands for the title after Sebastian Vettel secured victory in the opening round of F1 2017

Australian Grand Prix 2017 live race updates

After Ferrari driver Vettel won the 2017 season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton was asked if he faced a tougher test from the four-time champion than the one he got alongside Rosberg.

Vettel's triumph has overturned early-season expectations and raised the prospect of a Ferrari-Mercedes battle for the world title over the remaining 19 races. We have a good base, a good vehicle, but there's a lot to work on.

"If they'd got into a close battle at some stage we would have seen who was quicker", Clear told Sky Sports post-race. "I hope it stays that way and then we'll see how it turns out, but it's obviously a lot of fun to race for victories and a lot of fun to race against the best". Right now it looks like we have equal machinery.

The Briton topped a tight qualifying session Down Under and came out at the head of the grid as he finished 0.268 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel - expected by many to be Hamilton's biggest competition for the 2017 Formula One title.

"I am really grateful to have that fight with him, against Ferrari which is the next best team". "Finally we can have an actual race".

Some may argue that this statement is rather premature, with many other drivers such as Max Verstappen and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas also in with a shout of winning this year's championship. It was only a matter of time for him to win a championship, which I tried to stop him in Brazil as hard as I could in my Toro Rosso! I only stopped a lap earlier than my normal target, but I couldn't go any further.

"For today I am just very happy and whatever happens this year, the race today doesn't hurt". "We have been very fortunate in the last three years that we've won most of our races - now it is about accepting that Ferrari have beaten us". I have always said this is outlier, you can't expect this to continue forever.

It certainly looks like it after a stunning victory by Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari.

With Vettel charging to victory at the 2017 Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne Raikkonen endured a frustrating race to finish fourth but 22 seconds off his team-mate despite suffering no mechanical issues with his vehicle.

Bottas, the replacement for retired world champion Nico Rosberg, impressed in the second half of the race and added: "Everything went nice and smoothly, just the red guys are a bit too quick, so that means we need to work harder". Besides the two wins Red Bull Racing took home, Mercedes won every race.

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