By Daniel Wilson.
In the near ten years Lewis Hamilton has amazed us in Formula One, his name and the word ‘lost’ have very rarely appeared in the same sentence.
However, that seems to be the only way to describe the world champion right now after a strangely lacklustre performance in Singapore.
In many ways, Lewis was lucky to seal a spot on the podium, even if it was the bottom step, because of an aggressive strategy change from Mercedes – which of course very nearly cost the team victory.
Nevertheless, Lewis’ lack of pace was clear as day. Managing his brakes was an issue shared with his teammate yet at times, he was slipping behind his rival by nearly a second a lap.
And in the last stint, the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo was able to pull away comfortably even when on the same tyre.
So, why then has Lewis seemingly lost his way?
Well, the answer isn’t staring anyone in the face. One reason that may explain the Singapore result at least is the fact that Lewis had no long run setup time because of a hydraulic problem which forced him to sit out most of second practice.
However, with Hamilton’s experience in missing occasional long runs throughout his career and the fact that Nico had completed the session, the loss of track time shouldn’t have affected the Englishman’s form the way it did.
But can ‘lost’ be left in Singapore? Well, when you look at the bigger picture – perhaps so.
Cast your minds back to the race previous. Yes, Nico won, but it was gifted to him by Lewis’ poor start – which he himself is unclear as to why it was so bad. But until the lights went out on Sunday, Hamilton was in total control at Monza – taking pole position by almost half a second.
And the week prior to that, Lewis’ determination and some luck saw him climb up from 21st place to third – a result even Nico could hardly believe.
So, maybe all those Hamilton fans shouldn’t be panicking. Yet. Remember, in the last two years, some of the upcoming tracks are circuits where Lewis has outperformed Nico – Malaysia, Japan and Austin.
But two things seem certain – momentum is firmly with Nico and Lewis needs to find an answer fast; and it also seems this title fight will be decided under the lights in Abu Dhabi – no complaints from me!