Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix was set to be Lewis Hamilton’s most dominant performance of the season, before something went pop, his engine caught fire, and he retired from the lead.
And with it went a major dent into his world title chances.
Worse still, after being punted around at the start by Sebastian Vettel and dropping to last place, Nico Rosberg compounded Hamilton’s woe by recovering to third behind Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and race winner Daniel Ricciardo.
The German now holds a 23-point lead with just five races to go, and the bookies moved Rosberg into 8/15 title favouritism following yesterday’s race.
Hamilton’s second DNF of the season has pushed his odds out to 6/4, and left the three-time champion wondering if some higher power is conspiring to ensure he doesn’t win a fourth title this year.
Following a string of mechanical problems throughout the season, there are plenty of conspiracies going around purporting Mercedes are hindering Hamilton to allow Rosberg to prevail.
Hamilton’s comments yesterday only added fuel to the flames, but the reality is that given how many thousands of high-performance parts go in to producing and running a modern day Formula One power unit, it’s inevitable that something may go awry.
It’s a testament to the skill and quality of Formula One engineers that we don’t see several engines catching fire every weekend.
Sometimes luck just isn’t on your side, and Hamilton wouldn’t be the first to suffer.
The Brit has just five races to overhaul that 23-point margin, and that would take him four races should Rosberg finish second in that quartet.
And despite all the mechanical failures, Lewis is also in the position he is in due to some woeful starts.
Ironically he made one of his best of the year in Sepang, but it must be said that at several points this year, Rosberg has simply done a better job when it mattered.
And statistically, since becoming team-mates at the Silver Arrows in 2013, it’s the German driver who has suffered more mechanical retirements.
Hamilton can look to the heavens, but the history of Formula One is littered with what ifs, buts, and maybes. The only thing he can do now is drive his heart of.
With the pressure of, the value may not be in backing Lewis for the title, but to storm to victory at Suzuka in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at 6/5.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing