Hamilton demands answers over engine failure
SEPANG, Malaysia (AP): A FURIOUS Lewis Hamilton demanded answers from his Mercedes team after an engine failure cost him victory in yesterday’s Malaysian Grand Prix and severely dented his chances of winning this year’s Formula One drivers’ championship.
Hamilton was leading on lap 41 of 56 at the Sepang International Circuit when his engine blew, handing the race lead, and ultimately, victory to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
It was Ricciardo’s first victory since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix, leading a one-two finish with his teenage teammate Max Verstappen.
More painfully, it gave Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg – who finished an impressive third – a 23-point lead in the championship. Rosberg had to fight back from 21st place after lap one when he was the innocent party in a collision with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
With five races left in the season, it will be difficult for Hamilton to make up the deficit to the ultra-consistent Rosberg in the championship tussle. The frustrated Hamilton was upset in the circumstances and he hinted at perhaps more than that.
“My question is to Mercedes,” Hamilton said. “We have so many engines made for drivers, but mine are the only ones failing this year. Someone needs to give me some answers because this is not acceptable. We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing. It does not sit right with me.
“Someone doesn’t want me to win this year, but I won’t give up. I will keep pushing.”
Red Bull and Ricciardo took a lucky victory, given the circumstances that afflicted the Mercedes pair, but were in the right place to capitalise and make up for the win the Australian driver felt he was deprived of in Monaco when a team pit-stop misunderstanding cost him victory.
“Told you I’d win one. Sometimes you just need things to swing your way,” said Ricciardo, whose tears during the Australian anthem, played after the race, mixed freely with the copious sweat generated in the tropical conditions, which generated track temperatures consistently topping 50 degrees (122 F).
“It’s been an interesting, I would say, two years since my last victory and it feels awesome for sure. I am so grateful for it,” he said.
Ricciardo delighted many fans, and disgusted quite a few others, by celebrating victory with his newly adopted tradition of pouring the celebratory champagne into his sweaty race shoe and then drinking it — something he calls the ‘Shoey’.
Not only that, he also convinced team principal Christian Horner, plus Verstappen and Rosberg, to also drink from the unconventional vessel.
Asked to comment on the flavour, Ricciardo said it had a fruity taste, but Rosberg deadpanned: “I hope he does not win any more races this year.”
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leaves his car after an engine failure during the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia, yesterday. FAILING ENGINES