Lewis Hamilton has told Sky Sports News that he fully expects Sebastian Vettel to win a fourth straight World Championship next season.
Vettel, 25, recently became the youngest ever triple champion and Hamilton, who called the German "the luckiest driver in F1" after he finished third in Abu Dhabi from the pitlane last month, sees no reason why he shouldn't challenge again.
With no major technical changes next season, Hamilton anticipates that the Red Bull design led by Adrian Newey will once again build on the success of this year's car.
"It's going to be hard to beat Sebastian next year," Hamilton said. "I think Sebastian's going to have another amazing car.
"The car he had this year was fantastic. It's going to be an evolution of that next year. Adrian only seems to get better with age; I think he's going to do something pretty special next year as well."
Having decided to leave McLaren and join Mercedes, Hamilton has already tempered expectations that he might challenge Vettel for the 2013 title.
Not that the 27-year-old is lacking in motivation, however, as he prepares to embark on a new adventure with the German manufacturer.
"I like that people know that I'm a racer and I'm a winner. But it doesn't matter where you are on the grid, you can still race," Hamilton added.
"But I want to win - of course. That's my goal. I can't wait to get my hands on the team and the car and just try to work as quick as possible.
"It doesn't matter how many days, how many hours it takes. I'm willing to put all the effort in. I feel like I've got a new breath of life in me, so I'm ready for it."