Lewis Hamilton felt he had the Malaysian Grand Prix in his grasp only to see his car fail on him, resulting in retiring for only the second time in 2016 and allowing Daniel Ricciardo to claim the victory.
The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver’s retirement also allowed his team-mate Nico Rosberg to extend his advantage in the championship, and Hamilton revealed that he was attempting to get enough gap to Max Verstappen to enable him to make another pit stop without losing position when his internal combustion engine failed on the pit straight.
“Max was in my pit window so I was just trying to push him out of it,” said Hamilton. “I think I’d done that, almost. But then, on the straight, I just lost power all of a sudden. You could hear something blew and I obviously had to stop.”
Hamilton admitted he remained 100% confident in his team despite feeling the problems with the Mercedes power units seemed to be all for him in 2016, which he says is tough to take.
“Honestly, you’ve got to understand it from my point of view,” said Hamilton. “On one side, we’ve had the most incredible success these past two years, for which I’m so grateful. These guys work so hard and we’re all feeling the pain right now.
“When you get out of the car – that feeling you have after leading the race and then your car fails – it’s pretty hard to say positive things at the time. As I said in the TV interviews, Mercedes have built 43 engines or however many it might be with the extra three I’ve had, and I have happen to have most of, if not all of, the failures. So, that is definitely tough to take.
“But I have 100% confidence in these guys. It’s my fourth year with them now and the guys in the garage and back at the factories – I have 100% faith in them. I love it here and without them I would not have won these two Championships.”
Despite falling twenty-three points behind his team-mate in the championship standings after his retirement in Malaysia, Hamilton still feels everything is to play for across the remaining five races, starting next weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix.
“There’s still five races to go and if I can perform the way I performed this weekend there’s still everything to play for,” said Hamilton. “We will learn. The guys will take the engine back and they’ll understand what happened.
“Every time we’ve had engine issues they’ve gone away and found out why. It puts us potentially in a better position to make sure it doesn’t happen next year. All I can do is what I’ve done this weekend.”