Hamilton: F1 title comeback ‘not as tough as you think’

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SINGAPORE — Having seen his title rival win three straight races in four weeks, Lewis Hamilton could be forgiven for fearing the worst about the destiny of the 2016 Formula One title, but the Briton still believes he can reverse the current championship tide.

Hamilton had a frustrating weekend in Singapore and was off the pace of his rival and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in all three practice sessions, qualifying and the race. That was compounded by a hydraulic failure in practice that cost him a lot of long-run practice.

Given that, a third place finish and an eight-point championship deficit to Rosberg represented an acceptable level of damage limitation.

“A very trying weekend, these ones come along sometimes and you just have to take it on the chin sometimes,” a philosophical Hamilton said post-race.

Hamilton has overcome championship adversity already this year. When Rosberg won the opening four races of the season, the points gap was 43, but seven races later, the Briton had pulled ahead. Now he has to do it again.

“It’s not as tough as you think, I don’t know why,” Hamilton said. “We’ve come from 43 points down, so theoretically, eight points isn’t anywhere near as steep as that.

“With everything that’s gone on this year, I’m still in the fight, there’s still a long way to go and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

Hamilton suffered through the first two-thirds of the race with overheating brakes on the punishing stop-start circuit.

“I just had to slow down and watch the other guys pull away,” Hamilton said. “Once I did my (last) stop, all of a sudden my brakes were under control.”

NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.