Lewis Hamilton was missing from the team photo at the ‘Team of the Year’ award at the Laureus Sports Awards in Berlin sparking concerns that he had fallen out with his Mercedes team after a disastrous weekend in China.
The reigning champion had likened this year’s world championship battle with team-mate Nico Rosberg to the infamous “Rumble in the Jungle” and he was definitely on the ropes when he was hit with a five-place grid penalty before the Chinese Grand Prix. That was swiftly followed by another blow as a problem with the energy recovery systems on his power unit prevented him from completing his Q2 qualifying lap, meaning he had to start the race from the back of the grid.
Meanwhile, Rosberg won the race from pole position and has seemingly dealt the knockout punch to Hamilton’s World Championship hopes. In Formula 1, no driver has won the first three races of a season and failed to lift the title, so it appears that Hamilton is out for the count after only three rounds.
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The Hertfordshire man is currently 36 points adrift and was left to ponder on what had gone wrong. "Of course, it is a trying time and lots of different emotions are going through my mind," he said, adding that his predicament felt "perhaps worse now" than in 2014 "because it has gone one negative after the other."
The Brit was this week included in a Time magazine list of 100 most influential people which claimed that his legacy in Formula 1 would be intact even if he were to “retire tomorrow.”
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The Mercedes driver told CNN: "I've been here for 10 years - given my blood, sweat and tears for the sport, so I don't feel like I owe it anything. I actually probably promote the sport more than any other driver ever has. I'm at more events talking about Formula 1 more than any driver ever has - probably all the other drivers put together and more."
"It's easy at any point in time in life to look at the negatives at one particular moment and think that all is gone but there's a long, long way to go," he said.
"As long as I know I've given absolutely everything that's in my physical power and mental ability, as long as I've given everything, I can never be upset."
"Hopefully, I've still showed that fighting spirit that I've always had since I was a kid," he added. "So another 18 races to go. Still got a great car. Still got a great team. It's important that none of us change anything."
So Hamilton is not throwing in the towel just yet and is confident that all is not lost. Speaking about his team-mate and rival Rosberg, he said: “He's done a great job. I've not been there to really be in the fight with him. He's had pretty much a breeze for the last three races. Good for him.
"But he should enjoy it whilst it lasts, because you never know how long it's going to last..."