For Lewis Hamilton, there is no better track than Suzuka to re-ignite his Formula One title hopes after the crushing disappointment of last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton suffered an engine failure while leading in Malaysia, handing the victory to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and seeing his title rival and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg finish third and stretch his championship lead to 23 points with five races remaining.
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Urgently needing a win to restore both his confidence and title chances, Hamilton is in the right place for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, having won the previous two Suzuka races.
“I will find strength from within to fight back over these next five race weekends,” Hamilton said. “If I can perform like I did last weekend and the car holds together, then good things can still come my way.”
Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe admitted the team let Hamilton down. “Malaysia was a bitter pill to swallow,” Lowe said. “We let Lewis down in a big way. We are continuing to investigate the issue with his engine are doing everything we can to ensure that it is first understood and then contained for the remainder of the season.”
Rosberg, meanwhile, will be eager to widen the advantage over Hamilton in his quest for his first championship. The German driver has started from pole and finished second at last two races here. “I’m here to win races and that’s the aim every time,” Rosberg said. “Suzuka is the next opportunity and I’d love to stand on top of the podium there.”