Lewis Hamilton loses F1 lead and says there’s still a ‘long way to go’ – but his fans are not happy
Much like Lewis Hamilton did to that tiger, Nico Rosberg has snuck up on Hamilton and stolen the Formula One leadership from under him.
Which tiger, you wonder? How did you miss this?
How to scare a tiger ð. My fav, Nicole the tiger! @BJWTC pic.twitter.com/NXjm8DPq11
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 9, 2016
Rosberg held off a dramatic late charge from Daniel Ricciardo to win the Singapore Grand Prix and, in doing so, moved ahead of Hamilton in the title race.
The Briton finished third for the third successive race, with many wondering if he has it in him to retain the title this year. For his part, Hamilton admitted after qualifying that he hadn’t been up to pace this weekend, and he grew increasingly frustrated as the race went on.
Starting from third the Stevenage racer failed to make an impression on either Rosberg or Daniel Ricciardo in the opening phase of the race before a mistake on lap 33 enabled Kimi Raikkonen to pass him.
Hating this season in f1. So much injustice and incompetence for lewis Hamilton to deal with. Reminds me of Senna and Prost.
— Rich (@richjb1987) September 18, 2016
His fans aren’t happy, and seem to blame Mercedes.
Hamilton was hampered by a brake problem which he was urged to manage by his Mercedes team from the outset of the race – although Rosberg, in the sister car, was also told to nurse a similar issue. Unlike Hamilton, it did not seem to affect his overall pace.
The Briton directed a number of angry messages at his Mercedes team.
“Can you keep me up to date, please, I have no idea what is going on,” he said after only a handful of laps.
When Mercedes pulled Hamilton in for his first stop on the same lap as Ricciardo, the Briton – who remained behind the Red Bull – said: “Come on, guys, I needed a strategy there to get me past.”
#Mercedes haven't given Lewis Hamilton a car; they appear to have given him a boat for this race w/e. Pace is way off the benchmark. #F1
— Late Brakers (@LateBrakers) September 18, 2016
His night then got worse after he slipped behind Raikkonen following a mistake at turn 10 which enabled the Finn to pass him at the ensuing corner.
Following his second stop, Hamilton was told to move on to “Plan B”. The Briton raised his pace, and then with 16 laps left, Mercedes hauled him in for a third time.
Ferrari were caught off guard, unsure whether to leave Raikkonen out on older tyres than Hamilton or pit him to cover the world champion’s move. They opted for the latter, and it proved costly with Hamilton moving back ahead of the Ferrari.
Red Bull attempted a similar strategy to that of Hamilton with Ricciardo – taking on the softer, fresher tyre compound – in an attempt to catch Rosberg.
He left the pit lane 21 seconds behind the German with 14 laps to go and crossed the line only 0.4 seconds adrift. It was a fine effort from the Australian, but he fell agonisingly short.
Still a phenomenal race from @LewisHamilton under difficult circumstances!! Bring on the next race!! #TeamLH
— Team Hamilton SG (@TeamHamiltonSG) September 18, 2016
“It has been an awesome weekend in Singapore for me,” said Rosberg, who was celebrating his 200th grand prix on Sunday, and Hamilton, who is still one shy of his 50th win, congratulated his teammate.
“A big congratulations to Nico. He drove fantastically well all weekend and fully deserved the win,” he said.
“This weekend has been a tricky one for me. I am still in the fight, there is still a long way to go, and I am going to give it everything I have got.”
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) September 18, 2016