A furious Lewis Hamilton demanded answers from his Mercedes team after an engine failure cost him victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix and severely dented his chances of winning this year’s Formula One drivers’ championship.
Hamilton was leading with 16 of 56 laps remaining at the Sepang International Circuit when his engine blew in spectacular style, with flames shooting from the rear of the car.
It handed the race lead to Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who went on to take his first race victory since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix, leading a one-two finish with his teenage teammate Max Verstappen.
More painfully, it gave Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg _ who finished an impressive third _ a 23-point lead in the championship. Rosberg had to fight back from 21st place after lap one when he was the innocent party in a collision with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
With five races left in the season, it will be difficult for Hamilton to make up the deficit to the ultra-consistent Rosberg in the championship fight. The frustrated Briton felt victimized by circumstances, and he hinted at perhaps more than that.
“My question is to Mercedes,” Hamilton said. “We have so many engines made for drivers, but mine are the only ones failing this year.
“Someone needs to give me some answers because this is not acceptable. We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing. It does not sit right with me.
“Someone doesn’t want me to win this year, but I won’t give up. I will keep pushing.”