Hamilton finishes behind Vettel

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is relishing the developing battle between Mercedes and Ferrari and insists he welcomes the fight.

Hamilton was left trailing in the wake of Sebastian Vettel in Sunday’s Malaysia Grand Prix as the German racked up a maiden win for his new team and ended Ferrari’s 34-race winless run.

Ferrari’s start to the season has provided a welcome boost to the competition in F1 after Mercedes dominated 2014.

“We welcome the fight,” Hamilton said. “It is great to have a battle with the Ferraris.

“We didn’t expect so many cars to stay out [at the start following an early safety car] there were so many cars to get through and trying to catch Sebastian… he had great pace. It was too big a gap to close up.”

Hamilton also explained a tetchy exchange with his team over the radio shortly after his final pit stop, with the Briton also complaining throughout about his unhappiness with Mercedes’ tyre choices.

“He [Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe] was asking am I going to do another stop, that was my last stop so it confused me, that was not helpful,” he added. “The prime tyre did not feel good, it was better on the option.

“We were not expecting them to be as quick as they were. We were hoping to push for a one-two. Vettel is up there with us, I really don’t know how it will involve in the next race.”