Lewis Hamilton is relishing the prospect of battling Sebastian Vettel to see who can clinch a fifth Formula 1 world championship next season after equalling the German’s record.

The newly-crowned F1 champion drew level with Vettel and Alain Prost on four titles, while trailing Juan Manuel Fangio’s five and Michael Schumacher’s seven on the all-time list, and insists his motivation remains sharp to hunt a fifth crown in 2018.

Having enjoyed the tussle against the Ferrari driver this year, after also keeping an eye on the continued emergence of Red Bull and Max Verstappen, Hamilton expects a similar fight next season with both he and Vettel targeting a fifth career title and the honour of being the most successful active driver on the F1 grid.

“Having the three titles was amazing but everyone was aware there was another champion who had four,” Hamilton said. “I guess it will be kind of neat to be out there knowing we are both on four and now it is a race between the two of us to get the next one.

“We’ve had our battle through the year, I’ve always remained respectful and I see him as a four-time world champion and a fantastic driver and I love the fact I was able to fight just as hard as him and come out on top.”

Hamilton says his proudest achievement of the year came through reversing a substantial points deficit on Vettel, who led the championship at every round until the Italian Grand Prix, having exposed his rival’s “weak points”.

“It’s not great for anyone to lose a world championship when they’ve been in the lead of the championship, I’ve been there before,” he said. “I think this year there have been weak points he’s shown, pressure points you might call them, and I’m sure he’s going to try to work on those areas next year, and I’ve got to raise my game to reply to him.”