Hamilton would take on ‘any driver, any team, any time’

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Lewis Hamilton says he’s willing to take on any of his rivals in their own teams if the chance arises.

In an interview with F1 Racing magazine Hamilton said: “Would I ever go to Red Bull if Vettel was there? I would go up against any driver.”

“Any time, any place. Any team. Whoever it is, that’s not a worry for me, I would have happily been Sebastian’s team mate. He has a great car, so it would have been a great experience.”

Hamilton described Fernando Alonso as “the toughest opponent I have ever had” in a team. “It’s his sheer, raw, speed – he’s just massively quick. You have to be really ‘on it’ to beat him. You have to bring your ‘A’ game and more.”

He admitted there was an allure to driving for Ferrari – “you look at a Ferrari and think ‘that’s pretty cool'” – and didn’t rule out a return to McLaren in the future. But he added “at the moment I’m really happy where I am and I hope Mercedes keep me for even longer”.

Hamilton has been reunited with former karting team mate Nico Rosberg this year. He’s out-scored his fellow Mercedes driver by 77 points to 57 so far but Rosberg has had two mechanical retirements and had scored three pole positions to Hamilton’s one.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”