Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton went on a rant after the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday. He missed out on a victory and a chance to regain the lead in the Drivers’ Championship race due to a massive engine failure in the closing stages. He spoke out about his reliability issues and claimed that someone does not want him to win.
“I just can’t believe that there’s eight Mercedes cars and only my engines are the ones that have gone this way. Something just doesn’t feel right,” said Hamilton, as he spoke to Sky F1 after the race. His engine blew out a plume of smoke and erupted in flames in the 41st lap of the race. As a result, he had to retire and watch Nico Rosberg finish in third and extend his lead to 23 points at the top of the standings.Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took the victory with Max Verstappen close behind.
Fellow Mercedes driver, Rosberg, had a roller coaster of a race himself. After some turn 1 drama with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, he spun out and landed at the back of the pack from second place. It looked like Hamilton was poised to take advantage before his engine gave out. Rosberg climbed his way up the field and managed to get up to the third spot on the podium despite a 10-second penalty for colliding with Kimi Raikkonen.
Meanwhile, Mercedes Team’s non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, slammed speculations of a sabotage. “I know Lewis very well, and he will not accuse the team. This interpretation I cannot accept. What do you guys think, suddenly we start to sabotage?,” he told Eurosport. “Why? It’s completely ridiculous and stupid,” he added.
Hamilton later clarified that he meant that a higher power was working against him this season. He also expressed full confidence in the team despite being the only Mercedes driver to suffer reliability woes. With only five races remaining this season, it is not yet impossible for Hamilton to win the championship. However, the 23-point gap does not help his chances.