Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has welcomed the prospect of a three-team title fight in 2018, insisting it would only be a good thing for F1. 

Hamilton heads into this season aiming to defend his crown and seal a fifth drivers’ world championship title, a feat which would move him level in second place with Juan Manuel Fangio on the all-time list of most driver titles, behind only seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher

Two of the Briton’s last three world championship wins were internal battles against former teammate Nico Rosberg, until Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel posed the greatest threat to Mercedes’ dominance of the V6 hybrid era last year with a significant title challenge. 

“The ultimate goal is that we hopefully have more teams fighting for the championship,” Hamilton replied when asked if he would like to see more competition in 2018. “I think there was one year where had six different winners in the first six races, or whatever it was. That’s only good for the sport. 

“The more competition there is, the more fun it is to watch. I like you have grown up watching the sport, being a fan of it and seeing it when it’s been a one team championship and seeing it when there’s been a couple fighting so I am really hopeful.”

Hamilton and Vettel are set to go head-to-head for their fifth drivers’ championship this season, but face potential added competition from Red Bull, a prospect which excites Hamilton.

“I think Red Bull could be a real challenge this year, their car looks great and I haven’t seen anything from what Ferrari have been doing, but for sure they’ll be good. It’s going to be exciting.”

While Hamilton and Vettel’s 2017 rivalry was respectful for the most part, the atmosphere between the pair heated up following a controversial collision behind the Safety Car in Baku. However, Hamilton insists his focus will not be on playing to the German’s strengths and weakness during the upcoming campaign.

“I don’t play anybody. I go out there to win. I don’t feel like I have to play on any individual's strengths and weaknesses. I just have to go out there to grow and be as strong as I can be. 

“I truly believe if I am living to my own capacity then hopefully i should be a strong contender. I am really hoping these guys, I am sure they’re on it, I can’t wait for the first race to see where we all come out.

“I hope we are super close and it’s all down to within a tenth of a second, and it all comes to down to perfecting laps. I think then people are on the edge of their seats.”

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