Sebastian Vettel happy to continue Lewis Hamilton rivalry through to 2020

HOCKENHEIM, Germany -- Sebastian Vettel has welcomed the prospect of battling Lewis Hamilton for another two seasons.

On Thursday, Mercedes confirmed a new contract extension for the reigning Formula One champion that will keep him at the team until the end of 2020, the same year Vettel's existing Ferrari deal expires.

When asked if he was looking forward to two more years fighting for wins and titles alongside his fellow four-time world champion, Vettel said: "Yeah, if the result is the other way around I'll look forward to that! I think any battle is good.

"You want to fight the best. Lewis has been one of the best since he entered Formula One, so it's nice to keep the battle."

The length of Vettel and Hamilton's existing deals means they will stay put until the end of the current cycle of F1 regulations, with a big rule change due for 2021. Vettel expects the pecking order to remain similar to how it is currently.

"I don't know, for 2019 we have a small change and then for 2021. But until then it should be fairly stable. We'll see what happens in 2021, but that's quite far away. But in general it's always exciting as a driver if you can fight for points, if you can fight for podiums, and then fight for wins."

The identity of Vettel's teammate for next season is still yet to be confirmed. It seems increasingly likely Ferrari will promote junior driver Charles Leclerc, who is enjoying an impressive rookie season with Sauber, to replace Kimi Raikkonen.

Vettel remained coy on the decision.

"I like Kimi, I'd be happy to continue like that, but it's not up to me to decide. I think Charles, one way or the other, will have a great career, he's a great guy, he's fast, he's got everything.

"So yeah, definitely there's no need to rush. He's young. But when you're young you're always in a rush with everything. I don't know when or what and ultimately who, but yeah, as I said it doesn't really mater to me, for me it's clear where I'm next year. I think both of them would suit the team."