‘I’m still in this fight’

> Hamil­ton con­fi­dent of over­tak­ing Sin­ga­pore win­ner Ros­berg

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

LEWIS HAMIL­TON in­sisted he could over­haul Nico Ros­berg in the For­mula One world cham­pi­onship for the sec­ond time this year af­ter re­lin­quish­ing his hard­won lead in the stand­ings in Sin­ga­pore.

Hamil­ton fought back from 43 points be­hind ear­lier in the sea­son to es­tab­lish a 19point lead – only for his Mercedes team­mate Ros­berg to clinch his third straight win on Sun­day to go eight points clear.

Ros­berg won qual­i­fy­ing by more than half-a-sec­ond from Red Bull’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, with Hamil­ton back in third, and the Ger­man then led wire-to-wire for his eighth vic­tory in 15 races this sea­son.

De­spite Ros­berg’s in­creas­ingly im­pres­sive form, Hamil­ton, gun­ning for his third straight world ti­tle and fourth over­all, said “with a good week­end” in each of the last six races he could again re­cover the deficit.

With a size­able chunk of the record, 21race sea­son still to go, start­ing in neigh­bour­ing Malaysia in two weeks, Hamil­ton said he would take the pos­i­tives from a dif­fi­cult week­end fraught with me­chan­i­cal is­sues.

“This week­end has just been a bit of a tricky one for me, but I’m still glad I could get back up on the podium and get some points for the team,” said Hamil­ton, who fin­ished third.

The Bri­ton took so­lace from the fact that Mercedes have the best car, and also that the topsy-turvy sea­son had taught him eight points was not much of a lead.

“We have a good car. We’ve got to have a good week­end,” said Hamil­ton, who lost half his Fri­day prac­tice run­ning with a hy­draulic fail­ure that lim­ited his abil­ity to fine-tune the car’s set-up.

“We’ve come from 43 points down, so the­o­ret­i­cally eight points isn’t any­where near as steep as that, but still Nico’s been per­form­ing fan­tas­ti­cally well,” added Hamil­ton.

“This week­end, he’s done an amaz­ing job. I ex­pect him to con­tinue like that so I’ve got make sure that I do the same.”

Brake prob­lems early in the race en­abled Fer­rari’s Kimi Raikko­nen to get past into third place as Hamil­ton locked up un­der pres­sure.

But Hamil­ton started to gain pace near the end as the prob­lem eased and he re­gained the podium by un­der­cut­ting Raikko­nen dur­ing the fi­nal pit stops.

“It was mostly be­cause the car was get­ting lighter,” Hamil­ton ex­plained of his late surge.

“The brakes be­came a lot eas­ier to con­trol. Once my sig­nal of brake over­heat­ing re­duced, I was able to start to pick up the pace.”

Hamil­ton com­plained the prob­lem of over­heat­ing brakes, also suf­fered by Ros­berg, was ham­per­ing driv­ers – and it would get worse with heav­ier cars to be in­tro­duced next year.

“I guess the thing that pops to mind is how much worse it’s go­ing to be next year when we’ve got a heav­ier car,” he said.

“It’s a shame the cars are as heavy as they are be­cause we can’t push, you can’t race very well when you’re be­hind peo­ple here. But that’s maybe just the cir­cum­stances of this race.” – AFP

– AFPPIX

Sa­hara Force In­dia F1 Team’s Ger­man driver Nico Hulken­berg steps out of his car af­ter crash­ing dur­ing the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix night race on Sun­day.

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