Can Lewis afford another bad weekend?

By Daniel Wilson.

Anyone who has been looking at the media since Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix will know that Nico Rosberg is now the odds-on favorite to win this year’s world title, despite being only three races into the season.

The German driver has won all three opening events, and victory at the weekend secured a sixth straight win for him – one better than the personal record of his teammate Lewis Hamilton.

ros
Nico Rosberg is only the seventh driver in F1 history to win the opening three races of the season.

The current world champion suffered his biggest setback yet in Shanghai. As if going into the race with a five place grid penalty wasn’t enough, the Englishman was then let down by the reliability of his Mercedes engine – something not many of us have said in quite a long time.

But after two poor starts had cost Hamilton pole to flag wins in Australia and Bahrain, a last place start in China was the last thing he needed. Lewis recovered back to seventh despite a first corner collision with Sauber’s Felipe Nasr. However, a poor getaway from the Ferrari’s handed Rosberg another win – and with it a 36 point lead in the world championship.

schu
Michael Schumacher was the last driver to win the opening three Grands Prix in 2004.

Statistics are also favoring Rosberg in the long game as he aims for a first world title. The last six drivers to win the opening three races of the season have gone on to win the championship.

Hamilton’s challenge for a fourth crown is also looking bleak when you crunch the numbers. It’s the biggest deficit he has faced against a teammate while fighting for the title – even more than the gap Nico opened up in the mid-part of the 2014 season.

Lewis himself has admitted he has no more jokers left this season, and I think everyone would agree with that. As I mentioned previously, he seems to be in a better state of mind and isn’t letting the poor run get to him – but even the most relaxed of drivers will run out of patience.

sochi 3
Lewis will be looking for a hat-trick of wins in Sochi to get his title hopes back on track.

So the answer in this, the longest ever F1 season, is no – he can’t afford another bad race. The Russian Grand Prix – a race which only he has triumphed at so far – is a must win if he is to mount a challenge all of us want to see for this year’s world title; because as the man himself said – Nico is running away with it.

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