- Hamilton vs. Vettel could define F1 2017
- German holds four world championships to Hamilton's three
- Mercedes won past three constructors' titles
(CNN)Will 2017 see a power shift in Formula One?
Last season was all about the indomitable Mercedes duo, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, battling it out for the championship.
But with Rosberg's retiring after his title triumph, Hamilton has found himself with a new rival at the front of the grid.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel backed up his team's preseason optimism by topping the podium in Melbourne at Australian Grand Prix and later in Bahrain, beating Hamilton into second place on both instances. But in China the order was reversed as the Brit came in six seconds ahead of his rival.
All this begs the question, is Hamilton vs. Vettel the contest that will define this year's F1 season?
In terms of the numbers, it's difficult to separate the two drivers. Hamilton has won 28% of his races to Vettel's 24%, while the German holds four world championship titles, one more than Hamilton.
In 2010, Vettel, then racing for Red Bull, beat Hamilton's record to become F1's youngest ever world champion by 164 days.
Ferrari hasn't won a constructor's championship since 2008, while Mercedes won all but two races last year on its way to clinching a third-straight crown.
But armed with the experience of Vettel and 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen, 2017 could be the year that Ferrari returns to its former glories.