It’s been more than three weeks since Lewis Hamilton clinched his third world title in the US, and no-one is in denial over the talent he has shown on his way to winning the championship this year, but since that race, he has yet to beat his teammate both in qualifying and the races.
Nico Rosberg seems to have had the measure of his Mercedes teammate, taking pole to flag victories in both Mexico and Brazil yesterday. And some would question whether the Briton has taken his eye off the ball.
Despite wrapping up the pole position trophy in Belgium with his tenth top spot in eleven, his qualifying form seems to have reverted back to the sort of trend we were seeing last year. In fact, Lewis hasn’t had a pole since the Italian Grand Prix on 5th September – leaving him in search of a 50th first place start.
But he has certainly been winning since then, with three victories in a row between Japan and Austin. However, wins haven’t been coming the Englishman’s way since then, and it’s Rosberg who has perfected his race craft to deny Hamilton any chances in the last two events.
On the fair side, both Mexico and Brazil are not easy tracks to either follow or overtake your teammate at, and the ban on changing race strategy on track within the Mercedes team can open questions as to how the team operates in the sport.
But Lewis seemed frustrated for much of yesterday’s race at Interlagos – a track home to his idol Ayrton Senna but one he is yet to win at. Nico managed his tyres better, drove faultlessly, and it was Hamilton who dropped back significantly during the final laps of the Grand Prix.
I am certainly not saying Lewis isn’t trying hard enough and don’t believe his partying over previous weeks has had an impact on track like some journalists have questioned, but he needs to put a stop to his teammates run.
Five poles in a row and back to back wins will undoubtedly give Nico a huge amount of confidence and belief, and if he repeats that in Abu Dhabi, he could present a really tough fight for Lewis going into the 2016 season.