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Mercedes will prioritise Hamilton for 2018 Formula 1 title - Massa

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes will back Lewis Hamilton in the 2018 Formula 1 championship fight, according to his former title rival Felipe Massa.

Hamilton clinched his fourth world championship last year, fending off Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas 58 points adrift.

Mercedes operates a policy of letting its drivers race, but Massa, who was narrowly beaten to the 2008 title by Hamilton, believes the world champion team will focus on the Briton next year.

"[For 2018] the team is completely on his side 100%," Massa told Autosport.

"So he has no issue with his team-mate like he had maybe before [with Nico Rosberg].

"So many things are really on his side and he can just make himself better and better all the time."

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton won nine grands prix in 2017, including five of the six following the summer break on the way to clinching the title with two races to spare.

His fourth title moved him into an elite list of drivers with four titles or more that features only Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.

Massa was impressed with the way Hamilton handled problems with the Mercedes early in the year and the consistently high level he managed to achieve across the season.

"Hamilton did the perfect job," said Massa. "He had some little issues in some races at the beginning of the season.

"He was just not on the pace and struggling with some stuff around the car, but I think they sorted it out.

"He is really doing an amazing job and having fun racing. So he is just getting the best out of it.

"He deserves everything that he has managed to achieve.

"[In 2017], he made himself into a driver who has nothing to lose compared to any driver in history."

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