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Title battle: Hamilton says he is still in the fight

2016-09-19 10:09

MANY RACES LEFT TO TAKE BACK THE LEAD: Lewis Hamilton says that he needs only one good weekend to be back in the F1 title race. Image: AP / Wong Maye-E

Singapore - Lewis Hamilton insisted he could overhaul Nico Rosberg in the Formula 1 world championship for the second time this year after relinquishing his hard-won lead in the standings in Singapore.

Hamilton fought back from 43 points behind earlier in the season to establish a 19-point lead - only for his Mercedes team mate Rosberg to clinch his third straight win on Sunday (September 18) to go eight points clear.

READ: As it happened - 2016 Singapore GP

Rosberg won qualifying by more than half-a-second from Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, with Hamilton back in third, and Rosberg then led wire-to-wire for his eighth victory in 15 races this season.

Need a 'good weekend'

Despite Rosberg's increasingly impressive form, Hamilton, gunning for his third straight world title and fourth overall, said "with a good weekend" in each of the last six races he could again recover the deficit.

With a sizeable chunk of the record 21-race season still to go, starting in neighbouring Malaysia in two weeks, Hamilton said he would take the positives from a difficult weekend fraught with mechanical issues.

READ: Rosberg cruises to maiden Singapore GP victory

Hamilton, who finished third, said: "This weekend has just been a bit of a tricky one for me, but I'm still glad I could get back up on the podium and get some points for the team."

The Briton took solace from the fact that Mercedes have the best car, and also that the topsy-turvy season had taught him eight points was not much of a lead.

Hamilton added: "We have a good car. We've got to have a good weekend. We've come from 43 points down, so theoretically eight points isn't anywhere near as steep as that, but still Nico's been performing fantastically well. This weekend, he's done an amazing job. I expect him to continue like that so I've got make sure that I do the same."

Hamilton lost half his Friday practice running with a hydraulic failure that limited his ability to fine-tune the car's set-up.

Late surge

Brake problems early in the race enabled Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to get past into third place as Hamilton locked up under pressure.

But Hamilton started to gain pace near the end as the problem eased and he regained the podium by undercutting Raikkonen during the final pit stops.

Hamilton explained of his late surge: "It was mostly because the car was getting lighter. The brakes became a lot easier to control. Once my signal of brake overheating reduced, I was able to start to pick up the pace."

READ: 2016 Singapore GP - Rosberg holds off Ricciardo to seize F1 lead

Hamilton complained the problem of overheating brakes, also suffered by Rosberg, was hampering drivers - and it would get worse with heavier cars to be introduced next year.

Hamilton said: "I guess the thing that pops to mind is how much worse it's going to be next year when we've got a heavier car.

"It's a shame the cars are as heavy as they are because we can't push, you can't race very well when you're behind people here. But that's maybe just the circumstances of this race."


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