SUZUKA, Japan (AP) For Lewis Hamilton, there is no better track than Suzuka to re-ignite his Formula One title hopes after the disappointment of last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s engine failed while leading in Malaysia, handing the victory to Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. Title rival and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg finished third to stretch his championship lead to 23 points with five races remaining.
Urgently needing a win to restore both his confidence and title chances, Hamilton is in the right place for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix after winning the previous two races in Suzuka.
“I will find strength from within to fight back over these next five race weekends,” Hamilton said. “If I can perform like I did last weekend and the car holds together, then good things can still come my way.”
Hamilton was furious after the incident in Malaysia but said he is doing his best to put it behind him.
“Last weekend was a massive disappointment,” Hamilton said. “Not just for me personally but for the whole team. But there’s no use dwelling on these things. That’s just negative energy.
“The guys are hurting from what happened, too, and I know they’ll be working just as hard to get things right next time. It’s not the lowest point I’ve had. There have been lower moments for sure.”
Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe admitted the team let Hamilton down.
“Malaysia was a bitter pill to swallow,” Lowe said. “We let Lewis down in a big way. We are continuing to investigate the issue with his engine and are doing everything we can to ensure that it is first understood and then contained for the remainder of the season.”
Rosberg, meanwhile, will be eager to widen the advantage over Hamilton in his quest for his first championship.
The German driver has started from pole and finished second at last two races in Suzuka.
“I’m here to win races and that’s the aim every time,” Rosberg said. “Suzuka is the next opportunity and I’d love to stand on top of the podium there.”