It won’t have escaped anyone’s notice in recent weeks that Lewis Hamilton has been missing from the top step of the podium.
Since winning his third world title in Austin in November, it’s his teammate Nico Rosberg who has bounced back stronger, taking six consecutive pole positions and a hat-trick of victories to round out the season.
Much has been written in the media, including by myself, about what’s happened to Lewis’ form. But I don’t think people need to worry, especially heading into next season.
It’s worth remembering what happened throughout the season up until Mexico. It was, as some have described it, the Lewis Hamilton show.
Up to and including the US GP, Lewis secured ten pole positions and ten wins out of a possible 16, winning the championship before the end of the season for the first time in his career.
And that could explain his apparent drop-off in performance. He’s been very clear his main job for the season is done and that each race since had been about having fun and trying to win for himself.
But I think that mentality hasn’t helped. Lewis has never before entered an F1 race with nothing to fight for. He has always entered a race with a chance of winning a championship or moving up in the standings, but in Mexico, Brazil and this weekend in Abu Dhabi, that hasn’t been the case.
Subconsciously, it seems Lewis doesn’t have the same hunger to win and has nothing to prove – the opposite to his teammate. Nico has bounced back brilliantly, securing second in the championship and gaining confidence over his teammate.
But the 2016 season is still some way off, and I think Lewis, as world champion, will return with determination and hunger – and as favorite – to take a fourth world title.