Hamilton hoping for close-quarters Vettel fight

Lewis Hamilton retains hope of racing wheel to wheel with Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel this season.

The world-champion pair have each enjoyed dominant periods of Formula One success over the past seven years, although their respective runs have often intertwined with the other racing in an inferior car.

However, 2017 looks set to pit the duo - with seven drivers' titles between them - head to head as Ferrari have caught up with Mercedes - as evidenced by Vettel's win at the Australian Grand Prix.

The German's triumph came in strategy, however, as Hamilton's early pit stop cost him and allowed Vettel the chance to streak away.

"When he came out of the pits, that was exciting for me," Hamilton told reporters. "I was stuck behind one car [Max Verstappen's Red Bull], but it was kind of cool to see that the racing is that close.

"I wish that that was on track, but it's never going to be the case for some time... hopefully in some of the races this year it will."

The power-friendly Chinese Grand Prix is expected to favour Mercedes this week.

With Bahrain also just around the corner, Hamilton recalled his enthralling late-race battle with former team-mate Nico Rosberg as the kind of duel he yearns for.

He added: "My favourite form of racing is go-kart, it is still, hands down, the best form of racing because it's wheel to wheel, all the way, from start to finish. That's what I grew up living for, I yearn for the day of these kinds of battles.

"We had an amazing battle in 2014 with Nico in Bahrain, I'm dying for that day to come again. And I hope that happens with me and Sebastian.

"He's a four-time world champion, one of the best of our generation. I think fans are sitting on the edge of their seats for that.

"I just hope that it's not a season of strategy all year long, I want to do some track stuff. That's what I live for. That's what drives me."

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