Lewis Hamilton believes his duel for victory with Sebastian Vettel at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix provides Formula 1 with the perfect blueprint as it strives forward in the future.
The sport, which underwent a change in ownership to Liberty Media in 2016, has been criticized in recent years for being too predictable and boring, amid a period of dominance from Mercedes.
Ferrari were able to take advantage of new technical regulations introduced before the start of the season to close to the development gap to the German outfit, with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel currently atop the standings by a slender six-point margin.
Vettel and Hamilton went head-to-head for the honours at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday, with a bold move to the outside line through the fast left-hander at Turn 1 handing Hamilton the decisive advantage after an equally fascinating off-circuit fight between the strategists of both teams.
Strategy played such a crucial role in Hamilton’s advantage, having fitted the faster, softer compound tyres to his Mercedes at his final pit stop, that tyre degradation ensured the identity of the winner would prove a mystery as questions circulated about the predicted lifespan of Hamilton’s tyres.
The four-second advantage the Brit had amassed after claiming the lead cemented the victory, and moved to further opinions that this year’s World Championship showdown is likely to be contested by the two champions and their decorated teams.
“It was the rawest fight that I can remember having in a long-time,” admitted Hamilton.
“I loved it, this is why I race. This is what made me get into racing in the first place. This is what the sport needs to be like every single weekend.
“To have a close battle like that with a four-time champion is awesome. I lost out on the start and had to watch Sebastian fly by. He was so fast out in front and it was such a push to keep in touch with him and not let him pull away.
“I thought Seb would get me at the end of the final stint but I was able to do it. I have to congratulate my team today, with the strategy and the pit stops, as well as everyone back at the factory that has worked so hard to deliver these upgrades, enabling us to be so close in this fight with Ferrari.”
The qualifying performance of the two teams will prove crucial in Monaco in a fortnight, as Formula 1 prepares for it’s annual journey to the streets of Monte Carlo for the showpiece event on the calendar.