Lewis Hamilton says he has “100 percent confidence” in his Mercedes team despite cryptically stating that “someone doesn’t want me to win this year” after his Sepang engine failure.
Hamilton was racing towards the victory in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, 20 seconds ahead of the battling Red Bull team-mates.
It was a victory that would have seen him regain the lead in the championship race as his title rival Nico Rosberg was down in fourth place after a first lap collision.
But disaster struck when Hamilton’s engine went up in flames, putting him out of the grand prix.
His misfortune elevated Rosberg to third and, instead of losing points to Hamilton, the German extended his advantage in the standings to 23 points.
In the immediate aftermath, Hamilton questioned why “only mine” failed while adding that “someone doesn’t want me to win this year.”
However, hours later, the reigning World Champion insists he has every confidence in the Mercedes team.
“On the straight, I just lost power all of a sudden. You could hear something blew and I obviously had to stop.
“Honestly, you’ve got to understand it from my point of view.
“On one side, we’ve had the most incredible success these past two years, for which I’m so grateful. These guys work so hard and we’re all feeling the pain right now.
“When you get out of the car – that feeling you have after leading the race and then your car fails – it’s pretty hard to say positive things at the time.
“As I said in the TV interviews, Mercedes have built 43 engines or however many it might be with the extra three I’ve had, and I have happen to have most of, if not all of, the failures. So, that is definitely tough to take.
“But I have 100% confidence in these guys.
“It’s my fourth year with them now and the guys in the garage and back at the factories – I have 100% faith in them. I love it here and without them I would not have won these two Championships.
“While the struggle is real right now and has been all year, I honestly feel that it’s a test of my will, my spirit and who I am as a person to get back in and keep fighting it head on.
“It’s not how you fall, it’s how you get back up. That applies not just to me but to the guys as well. I saw tears in the eyes of my mechanics so I know that we all bear the pain.
“But, as I said, it’s how we re-group.
“We have to keep in mind what we’ve already built. While in the short term it doesn’t look good and for the long-term this year it might not be so good, there are still lots of positives.”
With five grands prix remaining, and a maximum of 125 points still in play, Hamilton says he is not giving up the fight as there is still a chance he can add to his tally with a fourth World title.
“There’s still five races to go and if I can perform the way I performed this weekend there’s still everything to play for,” he continued.
“We will learn. The guys will take the engine back and they’ll understand what happened. Every time we’ve have engine issues they’ve gone away and found out why. It puts us potentially in a better position to make sure it doesn’t happen next year.
“Honestly, when you have problems from the first part of the season, you feel like it’s slipping through your hands and there’s nothing you can do about it.
“We had a splurge of good results, then a bunch of difficult races. I have no idea what’s going to happen in these next five races. All I can do is what I’ve done this weekend. Come correct, be as focused as I can possibly be, put in these kind of performances and pray that the car holds together.
“I still have faith and hope. That’s a powerful thing. It feels a little bit like the man above, or a higher power, is intervening a little bit.
“But I feel like I’ve been blessed with the opportunity firstly to be here with so many great people around me, in this great team, to have won these last two Championships with lots and lots of victories and records that I’m breaking time and time again.
“Whilst it does not feel great right now, I have to be grateful for all of that. If at the end of the year the higher powers don’t want me to be Champion after everything I’ve given towards it, I will have to accept that.
“As long as I end the year knowing that I’ve given it everything, done everything I could possibly do and that we’ve done everything we could possibly do, that’s all you can ask for.
“Don’t forget that I’m World Champion. I’ll be okay.”