What happened to Lewis Hamilton? A man under pressure … And it’s painfully clear for everyone to see.
The four-time, defending world champion finds himself 17 points adrift of championship leader and arch rival, Sebastian Vettel, after what was an exhilarating Bahrain Grand Prix from start to finish. By his own admission, Bahrain was all about damage-limitation because it didn’t seem like this year’s W09 could withstand the heat in the desert – even at night. Hamilton also had the misfortune of a 5-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change that compounded matters for the Brit.
“It’s definitely not bad,” Hamilton said. “To come from ninth and get third I am really happy with that. It was kind of damage limitation really.”
But, with the cooler temperatures expected in China and at a track that has been good to Mercedes and Hamilton in the past, it’s here where he’ll look to reassert himself into the championship battle. It’s here where he in fact drew level with Vettel last year, also after surrendering an early championship lead. It’s also at this very track where Nico Rosberg – the 2016 World Champion – won his maiden F1 Grand Prix for the Silver Arrows back in 2012.
Hamilton – in dissecting the Bahrain Grand Prix – was hopeful of what’s to come in just a few days’ time.
“Hopefully when we go to the next race we’ll have a better understanding of the tyres and hopefully put up a better fight with the Ferraris.”
What happened to Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton lost his cool under the helmet in Bahrain in the latter stages of the race, when it became evident that Ferrari had won the mental battle and that Vettel was going to win his second in a row. There were several unsavoury messages towards other drivers (Max Verstappen in particular) and his general tone just came across like a toddler throwing a tantrum. This sort of approach will need to change. Hamilton is so much better when he’s calculated, cool and in control of his emotions. He certainly doesn’t need to be too hard on himself – the championship still has a long way to go and lest we forget, it was the same Hamilton that overturned a 25-point deficit to Vettel to clinch last year’s championship.
That being said, another win for his German rival in Shanghai, could spell the start of a difficult season for the defending world champion – especially because unlike other years – he may actually not be in the best car on the grid.
What to expect for the Chinese GP
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