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Lauda sees season-long battle between Hamilton and Vettel

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Niki Lauda isn't relishing the prospect of a season-long battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel as much as his star Mercedes driver.

While the Brit admitted to be exciting with Ferrari's resurgence and  Vettel's challenge, Mercedes' non-executive chairman would have been just as happy with a status quo with regard to the German manufacturer's domination of Grand Prix racing.

"I am afraid that this duel will last the whole season," the F1 legend told Bild newspaper.

"Sure, that's great for the fans," he added. "But I would not have had a problem if it had continued like it had for the last few years."

The Mercedes camp took note of the Scuderia and Vettel's victorious opening salvo in Melbourne, and Lauda was happy to see his concerns alleviated by Hamilton's win in China last weekend.

"I was relieved," Lauda admitted.

"I'm glad we now have our first race win under the new rules."

The Austrian doesn't see another horse joining the two-way battle at the front, at least not yet, although he did confess to have been mightily impressed by Max Verstappen's performance  on Sunday.

"Max's performance was impressive," Lauda admitted, "but I do not think Red Bull really got any closer."

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