Lewis Hamilton has compared the high pressure nature of his battle with Sebastian Vettel for the Formula 1 drivers' title with the matches between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have both had a dominant year in tennis.

The Briton shared a number of on-track battles with the Ferrari driver in the first part of the season, before dominating the second part of the campaign and winning his fourth drivers' title with two races to spare.

There were a number of times when the rivalry came to a boil – they made contact in Spain when Vettel was leading but Hamilton eventually won the race. The relationship was still cordial after Spain, but it crumbled after the German drove into the Mercedes driver in a fit of rage at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton believes that in a close battle between two top quality drivers or athletes, a minimal amount of weakness is enough to tilt the pendulum in favour of one person.

The 32-year-old compared their battle to that of Federer and Nadal. The tennis legends dominated the rest of the field in 2017, winning a combined 13 titles which included equally sharing all four Grand Slams between them.

However, Federer dominated their head-to-head meetings this year, winning on all four occasions. The Spaniard, though, holds a better overall record, having won 23 of their 38 meetings so far.

"Pressure points. Weak points. You just keep your foot down, keep the pressure on and when the other shows no sign of weakness... that's definitely difficult," Hamilton told BBC Sport.

"Look at Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. At some point in the game, one will see a slight weakness in the other – even if it's just half a percent. That's what they try to capitalise on and which makes the difference and that's really how it has been this year. The key for me is to be the most solid driver here," the four-time F1 world champion explained.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton wrapped up his fourth F1 world title with two races to go in 2017 Getty