Lewis Hamilton retains full belief he can claw back ground on Nico Rosberg in the fight for the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship despite enduring a woeful Chinese Grand Prix weekend that leaves him 36 points shy of the lead.
With Mercedes team-mate Rosberg cruising to a third consecutive win in 2016, Hamilton – already starting last after an engine change - endured a torrid afternoon in Shanghai after getting caught up in a turn one skirmish for the third race in a row.
Forcing him to pit for a new wing – one of five stops he would make over the course of the race -, Hamilton battled his way back up to a high of third at one point in the damaged W07 but would fade back to seventh in the closing stages.
Having now been defeated by Rosberg in the last six races going back to 2015, though Hamilton admits his run of poor form and luck is frustrating, he is refusing to let it get to him like he admits it would have done in the past.
“I definitely don't feel the dark cloud that I've had in the past,” he said. “Of course it's a trying time and for sure there are lots of different emotions and thoughts are going through my mind as you see the season started the wrong way, you see the championship which your goal is, is moving further away from you as you are approaching it.”
Already on the back foot against Rosberg after finishing second in Australia following a turn one delay and third in Bahrain because of a collision with Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton struck his nadir in China with a pre-event gearbox change already dropping him five positions on the grid even before his ERS failed in qualifying.
Nevertheless, he is focusing on the positives of the race and the close relationship he is establishing with the team around him.
“This is a part of motor racing and a part of the journey and through these experiences, not only myself but my mechanics, my engineers, it brings us closer, it makes us stronger. As I said I got a good start, great overtaking -- I can still overtake you know so there are lots of positives to take from the race.
“Ultimately I wasn't able to show my true ability or all of my ability in terms of pure pace because I had a damaged car but that was the same with the last race as well. But we go away, we'll come back. We fell this weekend, we'll get up and try harder next time..”