Lewis Hamilton is undoubtedly one of the best drivers on the Formula 1 grid but he will end this season without a second title to his name...
Being fast may count for a great deal in motor racing but there's more to it than just that. You need a bit of luck, reliability to go your way, your opponent to show weakness and you need to not show any yourself. But none of those are working out in Hamilton's favour.
Although Hamilton says he doesn't crack under pressure and has the mental strength to pull through, his performance as recently as qualifying for the Austrian GP says otherwise.
Going wide at Turn 8 on his first run, the Brit was left with just one lap in which to grab pole position. He spun. Hamilton was baffled by it but Mercedes were quick to point out that it was not a car issue. That leaves only one possibility; driver error.
It wasn't the first time that a mistake had cost Hamilton and it won't be the last. He is not mentally fragile, you don't get into Formula 1 by being mental fragile, but there's no way around it, Hamilton cracks.
Like Sebastian Vettel is having the bulk of Red Bull's problems in this year's Championship, Hamilton is having Mercedes'.
Nico Rosberg has yet to retire from a grand prix while Hamilton has suffered two; both engine related. In Australia an engine failure left him powerless while in Montreal, ERS issues put a strain on his brakes and they failed. Rosberg had a similar problem but, Mercedes believe, due to the fact that he was leading the race and had more cold air coming onto his brakes he reached the chequered flag.
How does one driver always seem to have more issues than the other? That I cannot say, most put it down to driving style. The only thing I know for sure is that Hamilton has lost a definite 36 points and perhaps even 50 because of it.
Rosberg Has Found His Stride
Nico Rosberg is in incredible form this season. The German, who entered this season having won just three races in his entire Formula 1 career has already doubled that to six. And the season is not even halfway. As former driver turned commentator Christian Danner told the Bild, "The last time I saw such consistency was Schumacher."
Rosberg has yet to finish a grand prix lower than second. Even when his W05 had a similar problem to Hamilton's in Montreal, he brought it home in second place.
The German has also found his ruthless side. He may be ragged on some social networks but Rosberg has demonstrated he's more than just a pretty face. That moment in Monaco qualifying was either an outstanding mistake or a cunning piece of maneuvering. Either way it showed Rosberg has an edge and a sharp one at that.
Seven Points Between First And Second
Even when Hamilton was on his winning streak taking four in a row, it was not until the fourth race that he finally overhauled his team-mate in the standings. That was because he had lost ground at the very start of the season through his Australian retirement and because Rosberg doesn't finish lower than second.
This time around the deficit is even bigger and Hamilton would need to win the next five in a row to edge ahead in the Championship. Given that his previous run of four was a first for him, the chances of a fiver coming along are looking pretty slim.
There is no way around it, the relationship between the Mercedes team-mates is deteriorating. Although Hamilton said after their Monaco spat that they are "still friends", Rosberg conceded that the friendship had changed especially as there is now so much on the line.
And while they may be speaking to each other away from the track, the communication on it is taking strain.
In the wake of the Austrian GP, Toto Wolff revealed that "it is getting very competitive, that transparency is suffering a little bit and we need to make sure that this is not detrimental to the team."
The best way to stop it being detrimental is to put an end to the war.
At present Mercedes are insisting they won't implement team orders but if the war continues there will come a time when they do and it will be in favour of the driver leading the Championship. As such, time is fast running out for Hamilton - he no longer has until the end of the season to beat Rosberg.
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