Lewis Hamilton will need a change in fortune over the final five races of the Formula One season for him to retain the Drivers’ Championship. The Mercedes driver is aiming to become just the fourth man in history to win the competition three times on the bounce, although his luck will have to improve to beat out his rival Nico Rosberg.
The German has surpassed the 31-year-old's standings over the past two outings, and is now closing in on his maiden title after returning to his best form. Rosberg is backed in the latest 32Red mobile betting odds at 4/9 to triumph in the Drivers’ Championship by closing out the crown in the final five races of the term.
The race for the title has turned over the past two meets as Hamilton’s lead at the top was erased by the German’s three victories on the spin in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, along with his third-place finish in Malaysia.
He now holds a 23-point lead over the Brit, and Hamilton’s recent car troubles may hinder his attempts to close the gap before it becomes too late.
It is not the first time in the season that Hamilton has trailed his Mercedes team-mate. Rosberg got off to a flying start to the campaign by winning the opening four races, taking top spot on the podium in Australia, Bahrain, China and Russia.
The reigning champion stuttered out of the block finishing behind the German in Australia and Bahrain, before suffering his first mechanical issues of the season in China and Russia as ERS failures knocked him down the grid.
Hamilton’s quality ensured that he finished in the points in both races, but the ground he lost to his team-mate in the standings could be crucial come the end of the campaign. Tension between the Brit and the German almost boiled over in the Spanish Grand Prix when the duo were involved in a collision that knocked both of them out of the race.
The incident appeared to bring focus to the 31-year-old again as he reeled off victories in Monaco and Canada before he had an engine mode issue in the European Grand Prix, while he also crashed during qualifying at the meet, resulting in starting 10th on the grid and a fifth-place finish.
He rebounded from the disappointment with another strong series of performances to surpass Rosberg at the top of the Drivers’ Championship. Hamilton put in fine drives in Austria, Hungary, Germany and home soil at Silverstone to strengthen the grip on his crown, while the German struggled to match his team-mate's pace around the circuit.
However, since their return from a four-week mid-season break, Hamilton’s problems with his car have returned to cost him. Rosberg has found his best form behind the wheel since the end of August to reel in the Brit and has capitalised on his team-mates issues in Singapore and Malaysia to establish a healthy lead at the top of the Championship.
Hamilton’s emotions appeared to get the best of him after the race in Malaysia. For the first time in the season a mechanical failure cost him points, although over the course of his Mercedes career he has fared better than Rosberg. The German has had eight incidents since 2013 where faults have resulted in him failing to register points, four more than the Brit.
It will be up to Hamilton to put his disappointment to one side again this season to focus on getting back to the top. He now has a crucial run of two races, where he has dominated over the past two years, recording back-to-back triumphs in Japan and the USA. A similar run of form could address the gap in the Drivers’ Championship, with 32Red and Unibet strongly backing him to bounce back, although Rosberg will be determined to extend his lead.
The 31-year-old has a tendency to be emotional both on and off the circuit, but he must ensure that he removes any feelings of frustration because another non-score could end the race for the crown should Rosberg notch another high-placed finish. Hamilton remains the best driver on the grid and through no fault of his own finds himself in an uphill battle. However, should he beat out his team-mate to secure his third consecutive title, it might just be his best accomplishment to date.