He added: "Now, we're almost rebuilding, if you want, the challenge of 'Let's see what you can do with something new.'"
Again, F1 predictions are dangerous. But if Hamilton isn't competitive, that will remove a big obstacle to Vettel adding a fourth world title in 2013 to the one that seems promised to him this Sunday.
Hamilton is thrilling to watch because he's so fast and aggressive. F1 will be a poorer spectacle next season if he becomes lost in the no-man's land of mechanical failures and mediocre race performances that swallowed up Schumacher's final year.
John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester
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