Lewis Hamilton admits he is “not comfortable at all” in the F1 title race after losing out to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the Malaysian Grand Prix, despite his healthy lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.
The British driver, who last won a title in 2015, leads Sebastian Vettel by 34 points following Ferrari’s problems in South-East Asia, wherein in Singapore the two Ferrari’s crashed out on the opening lap, wherein Vettel started on pole whilst Hamilton started in fifth, whilst the upgraded Ferrari’s in Sepang were compromised by reliability issues after leading the way during practice.
Leave alone the resurgence of Ferrari after Mercedes’ dominant showing in Monza, Red Bull has stepped into the equation, out-qualifying both Mercedes cars in Singapore, however in Malaysia — where the power demands would theoretically weaken the Red Bull threat — Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton on merit and in dominant fashion, with Daniel Ricciardo, too, beating Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton is aware despite his big lead at the top of the table that the “pendulum” can sweep back in Ferrari’s favor, specially if Mercedes are struggling for absolute performance compared to Ferrari and Red Bull.
“I am under no illusion. I might have the nail a little bit in, but I need to keep hammering it.” Hamilton said, talking about his title chances at the Japanese GP.
“It is not done until there is no more to push it in.
“There are so many points available and you have seen other years where things swing,” Hamilton added.
“The pendulum can swing. I am hoping if it starts to swing the other way we have enough force to push it back to where it should be.”
Marko: Red Bull’s rise would win Vettel 2017 crown
Helmut Marko has suggested that Red Bull’s rise in performance over the last two Formula 1 races could help Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2017 F1 world title.
Red Bull have played a pivotal role in Vettel’s career, most notably the German has won all four of his F1 world titles with the energy drink marque, and as Marko has pointed out, their resurgence in the F1 competitive pecking order could win Vettel a fifth title.
Should Red Bull be able to sandwich between Ferrari and Mercedes, it could be enough for Vettel to recover the points lost in the last two races to eventually beat Hamilton before F1’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“It could help Sebastian if we are ahead of Mercedes once again,” Marko told Auto Bild.
“We will be strong in Suzuka again,” Marko added. “And we are still developing our car.
“In qualifying, Mercedes is still stronger with the qualifying mode of their engine. But in the race we were stronger last time.”