Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel v Lewis Hamilton would be F1's dream rivalry

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The sporting world will already witness the coming together of two of the greatest boxers of the modern era as Floyd Mayweather faces Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas next month.

But in F1 another box office attraction may be possible as two of the best racing drivers of this generation could be set to do battle and we find out who really is better, Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel?

In Australia it seemed we looked set for another year of Mercedes domination as the two Silver Arrows left everyone for dead and Lewis Hamilton eased to victory over team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Can Ferrari maintain Malaysia form?

But it was all change last weekend in Malaysia as Ferrari outsmarted Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel drove his most impressive race in quite some time to claim a popular victory.

Now given the gap in Melbourne and the uniquely hot conditions teams and drivers face at Sepang most believe that the German's victory last weekend was a one-off and in China next weekend all will be back to normal with Mercedes miles ahead of everybody else.

The thing is, however, the Shanghai International Circuit is traditionally a strong track for the Scuderia, it was the venue for their only podium last year thanks to Fernando Alonso and the same driver/team combination won the race the year before.

As a result, it would be foolish to suggest that Ferrari may not be as competitive as they were in Malaysia when the cars head out in just over a week's time.

Development will be key

Looking further ahead it will be about maintaining a fast and productive rate of development if the Prancing Horse wants to take the battle to the Mercedes for the rest of the season.

Single lap pace seems to be highly in favour of the Silver Arrows based on the dry qualifying in Australia but race pace was fairly even when both were in clear air at both the opening two races.

A battle years in the making

If it is that Ferrari can manage a season-long battle then the Vettel vs. Hamilton scrap will be one eight years in the making.

Hamilton almost had it easy jumping straight into a competitive McLaren and deservedly won his first title in 2008, but as Vettel made the jump to Red Bull, the all-British pairing dimmed and we never really got an answer as to who would win in a straight fight.

Both are brimmed with natural ability, the Germanic side of Vettel means he takes perhaps more of an interest in how everything works and is more meticulous compared to Lewis who drives on instinct and alters the car to suit his liking as he goes. 

No disrespecting their respective team-mates, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg, but of the two teams the four-time world champion and the double world champion both seem to have them covered, and would therefore be the lead drivers in the bid to be crowned 2015 champion.

Two of the same but different

They are perhaps the two most divisive figures among fans with Vettel's success with Red Bull creating a group who can't stand the German while Hamilton's flamboyant lifestyle has split opinion over the Briton.

Certainly with both having a claim to being the best driver of the current generation it would be one of the fiercest rivalries in recent history and both are very similar in their strengths.

Both are known for producing the perfect lap in qualifying, both are great in the wet but in a race they are slightly different.

Hamilton enjoys the wheel-to-wheel scrap but can control a race from the front while Vettel is exceptional while leading but perhaps a little suspect in a close fight though he has proven he can go wheel-to-wheel with the best.

The superstar rivalry F1 needs

The appeal of the battle would be enormous for F1 with two superstars fighting to be crowned champion, that was one of the drawbacks to the Hamilton - Rosberg rivalry last year with only really one driver having that star attraction.

It would also be kind of ironic that the rebirth of a great German/ Italian partnership would come as one country has lost its race for 2015 while the other is seemingly on course to do the same.

It would be very hard to predict which way the battle would go if they had equal cars but given Mercedes' perceived advantage Hamilton would be favourite for now.

What do you think? Who would come out on top in a straight fight between Hamilton and Vettel? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!

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