Serious questions are being asked about the form of Mercedes’ double Formula One drivers’ champion Lewis Hamilton after the Brit slipped behind teammate Nico Rosberg in this year’s standings, but writing him off so quickly seems unwise.
In fact, Hamilton finally looks a backable price at 4/6 for his third title on the bounce after finishing behind Rosberg and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo at the Singapore Grand Prix, a race the 31-year-old has only won twice in nine attempts.
There was clearly something different about Rosberg over the weekend, with F1’s perennial bridesmaid a whopping 0.704 seconds faster than his teammate in qualifying and almost eight seconds quicker on the night.
Hamilton has plenty of excuses though, with his car suffering from locking brakes and a hydraulic leak in practice limiting his preparation time significantly.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said his number one driver’s car was ‘not where it should have been after free practice one’, and that appears to have played out around the Marina Bay Street Circuit’s multitude of corners.
Lest we forget, this is a driver who stormed from the back of the grid to grab second last time out in Italy, after the powerhouse German manufacturer atoned for early-season breakdowns by taking a penalty for a one-time engine fix.
Hamilton had won six of the previous eight Grand Prix and finished the past two campaigns in ferocious form, taking six of the last seven races in 2014 to lift his second drivers’ championship despite a mid-season wobble.
Retaining the title last year with time to spare enabled the Stevenage native to lift his foot off the gas somewhat, leaving Rosberg to take the last few races of 2015, but Hamilton won the three rounds following Singapore in each of his triumphant terms at Mercedes.
Were he to do so again, a fourth crown will be all-but guaranteed.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.