Lewis Hamilton has admitted after the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix that the whole 2016 season has been a “struggle” for him. This comes after an engine failure in the most recent race cost him a certain win and the World Championship.
Hamilton had been pushing in the laps leading up to the failure to get an appropriate pit window to cover off Max Verstappen, but it’s unclear whether this contributed to the incident. The weather conditions during the Grand Prix were also unusually hotter and more humid than normal Malaysian conditions. It’s also unknown if this contributed to the failure.
“But then, on the straight, I just lost power all of a sudden,” Hamilton told the press after the race. “You could hear something blew and I obviously had to stop.”
Hamilton’s remarks to the press would also drawn up conspiracy theories over the incident after questionable comments. Some of these included: “Mercedes have built 43 engines or however many it might be with the extra three I’ve had, and I have happen to have most of, if not all of, the failures,” and rather more simply: “Something or someone doesn’t want me to win the World Championship.”
Lewis would later address the claims that had fans convinced Mercedes were attempting to sabotage the Triple World Champion. “When you get out of the car – that feeling you have after leading the race and then your car fails – it’s pretty hard to say positive things at the time.”
But the real comment that struck me for ‘odd’ was one he would go onto say later in his press release. After discussing the substantial difficulty he has faced with the 2016 Mercedes W07, he said: ” While the struggle is real right now and has been all year.” This perplexes me because Hamilton seems to be blaming the car for all his issues and the current championship position. He also believes these problems have been prevalent all year. Hamilton’s enjoyed considerable success earlier in the year and thanked all of his team for everything they do multiple times. I can’t work out if this is just pathetic excuse making, plain idiocy, or the truth! I think it seems unlikely Hamilton would only raise concerns about the car when the championship lead for Rosberg increases by 15 points.
But in reality, Hamilton has had a dismal campaign in 2016 after reliability has rather unluckily plagued him. In qualifying for China and Russia he was affected by MGU-H failures which saw him start 22nd and 10th respectively. This led to a further grid penalty in Belgium. The Russian and European Grand Prix’s also saw Hamilton suffer from a water pressure issue and an incorrect engine mode – both would compromised his overall performance.
Hamilton will return in one weeks time for the Japanese Grand Prix – a race he has historically gone well at in the V6-Hybrid Turbo era. He used pure aggressive dominance in Turn 2 to win it last year – he’ll need to do the same thing this year to get any hopes of a third consecutive World Championship.