Hamilton: F1 title comeback ‘not as tough as you think’
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain listens to a question during a press conference at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit, Singapore. SINGAPORE (AP): HAVING SEEN his title rival win three straight races in four weeks, Lewis Hamilton could be forgiven for fearing the worst about the destiny of the 2016 Formula One title, but the Briton still believes he can reverse the current championship tide.
Hamilton had a frustrating weekend in Singapore and was off the pace of his rival and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in all three practice sessions, qualifying and the race. That was compounded by a hydraulic failure in practice that cost him a lot of long-run practice.
Given that, a third-place finish and an eight-point championship deficit to Rosberg represented an acceptable level of damage limitation.
“A very trying weekend, these ones come along sometimes and you just have to take it on the chin sometimes,” a philosophical Hamilton said post-race.
Hamilton has overcome championship adversity already this year. When Rosberg won the opening four races of the season, the points gap was 43, but seven races later, the Briton had pulled ahead. Now he has to do it again.
“It’s not as tough as you think, I don’t know why,” Hamilton said. “We’ve come from 43 points down, so theoretically, eight points isn’t anywhere near as steep as that.
“With everything that’s gone on this year, I’m still in the fight, there’s still a long way to go and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”
Hamilton suffered through the first two-thirds of the race with overheating brakes on the punishing stop-start circuit.
“I just had to slow down and watch the other guys pull away,” Hamilton said. “Once I did my (last) stop, all of a sudden my brakes were under control.”
Rosberg hung on for the narrowest Formula One victory for six years, celebrating his 200th career start in perfect style as he reclaimed the championship lead.
Rosberg held on to beat a fastfinishing Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull by just 0.488 of a second at the Marina Bay street circuit, while Hamilton took third place, narrowly in front of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Rosberg’s third successive win and first in Singapore, took him back to the top of the drivers’ championship, eight points ahead of Hamilton with six races left.
Ricciardo, having pitted for fresh tires with 14 laps left, sliced Rosberg’s lead from 25 seconds to under a second, but ultimately fell just short of overtaking the German.
It was the closest F1 finish since the 2010 race at this venue when Fernando Alonso edged Sebastian Vettel by three-tenths of a second.