RESULTS: Malaysian Grand Prix – Race results
Lewis Hamilton insists he retains faith that he can still win a third consecutive Formula 1 World Championship title this year but admits he has a feeling of 'helplessness' following a bitter exit from the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Coming into weekend ideally needing a win over Nico Rosberg having slipped eight points adrift of his Mercedes team-mate following Singapore, Hamilton looked set to get more than he bargained for when his rival was spun to the back of the field at the start of the Sepang race.
With Hamilton stretching clear out front, the Briton looked set for his seventh win of the season only for his Mercedes' power unit let go in spectacular fashion with 16 laps remaining.
POINTS: F1 World Championship Standings after the Malaysian GP
A first technical DNF for either Mercedes this year, with Rosberg recovering to third to extend his championship lead to 23 points, Hamilton laments his untimely exit with five races of the season remaining could ultimately prove pivotal to his title dreams.
Indeed, in a rollercoaster of a season that has already seen Hamilton bridge an early-season 43 point deficit to Rosberg to lead overall coming into the summer break, he admits this latest set-back is now taking its toll and leaves him questioning 'a higher power'.
“When we had the problems in the first part of the season, you always have the feeling that it's slipping through your hands, slipping through your fingers and there's nothing you can do about it. Then when you have a splurge of good results and then a bunch of difficult results and it's a similar feeling to what we had back in Barcelona [when Rosberg and Hamilton collided].
“It feels right now that the man above, or a higher power is intervening a little bit but I feel like I've been blessed with so many big opportunities, firstly being here with all these people around here, the opportunity in this great team winning the last two championships. Lots and lots of big trophies and records that I'm breaking time and time. While this does not feel great I feel grateful.”
“I have no idea what's going to happen in these next five races, all I can do is do what I've done this weekend, come correct, be as focused as I can be, put in performances like I have done this weekend and pray that the car holds together. I still have faith.
Indeed, with Hamilton saying his personal disappointment was put into context after seeing tears in the eyes of his mechanics, he refused to call this his 'lowest point' but says he does feel 'helpless'.
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“It's not my lowest point,” he continued. “I've had lower points for sure. In terms of feeling helpless that's for sure the most helpless it could be at this point. But I will try to find strength from within to be able to come to these next races hoping, and if I can perform like I did this weekend, providing the car holds together, good things can come out.”
“I love it [at Mercedes] and without them I would have not won these extra two championships and while the struggle is real now, and has been this year, honestly I feel it's a test of will, a test of my spirit and who I am as a person to get back in and keep fighting it head on.
“It's not how you fall it's how you get back up. That's really, I think, as much advise to me but to my guys as well because I saw tears in the eyes of my mechanics. So I know that we all bear the pain, but as I said it's how we regroup, we've got to bear in mind what we've already built.
“While in the short term this does not look good there's lots of positives, there's still five races and I believe that. I don't know if my two engines are going to make it but I can only hope. If I can perform the way I have performed this weekend then I've got everything still to play for.”
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