KUALA LUMPUR—Lewis Hamilton said he will give everything at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix as he looks to bounce back in the Formula One championship after losing his lead to a rampant Nico Rosberg.
The triple world champion lies eight points behind his Mercedes team-mate after the increasingly impressive Rosberg powered to a hat-trick of victories in the last three races.
The German triumphed in Belgium, Italy and in his 200th grand prix at Singapore 10 days ago where Hamilton, who finished third, was hit by mechanical problems.
With six grands prix left, Hamilton knows time is running out in a rollercoaster, 21-race season that has seen the Englishman trail by as many as 43 points at one stage and lead by 19 just three races ago.
“Singapore was a difficult weekend for me, so to come away with a podium in the circumstances was pretty good damage limitation,” Hamilton said this week.
“I have no idea if the momentum will swing back to me or when it might. I just have to keep giving it my all and hope for the best,” said Hamilton, world champion in 2008, 2014 and 2015.
“It’s going to take some good results to get back in front and stay there—but I’ve had plenty of those in the past, so there’s no reason to think they won’t come back to me again,” said Hamilton.
“Sepang is my first shot at it. It’s a track I usually go pretty well at.”
Mercedes can seal the constructors’ championship in Malaysia with a one-two finish, but Rosberg sounded a note of caution about their rivals.
“Red Bull and Ferrari are both pushing us really hard, so there will be some tough weekends ahead,” said the championship leader, who came third at Sepang in 2015 behind winner Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton.
“Malaysia didn’t work out perfectly for us last year, so if we can win it this time against such tough opposition that would be really awesome.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo pushed Rosberg all the way in a thrilling climax to the Singapore Grand Prix, closing a 30-second deficit to less than half-a-second at the chequered flag.
But the Australian admitted that Singapore was his best chance of registering a dry victory this campaign, so he now needs the weather gods to intervene to have a chance in Malaysia.
The race, which often sees rain and thunderstorms, has been moved from its traditional early-season slot to the middle leg of an “Asian swing”, sandwiched by the Singapore and Japan grands prix.
Ricciardo believes the calendar switch won’t affect his chances of a wet race, which would benefit the Red Bulls with their superior downforce.
“I checked the weather and it seems pretty constant all year round so that shouldn’t change much,” said Ricciardo.
A wet race would also interest Vettel, as he tries to bridge a 26-point gap to Ricciardo in third place.
Vettel drove superbly from the back of the grid to finish fifth in Singapore after a suspension failure in qualifying.
And he knows his way around Sepang, having won in Malaysia in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015, and is confident Ferrari can finish the season on a high.
“I think if we get everything right then we know we have a strong package, for sure,” Vettel said.
He added that Ferrari, 15 points behind Red Bull, would battle all the way for second place in the constructors’ championship.
“I think going forward we have confidence. We’re here to fight and that’s what we’re going to do,” the four-time world champion said.