Everything is about time in Formula 1. There may be 18 races left this season, including this Sunday's Russian GP, but Lewis Hamilton needs to start getting some results, fast.
Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg has claimed the first three wins of this season and leads the Brit by 39 points in the Drivers' Championship. The German, crucially, has all the momentum and Hamilton needs to act quickly to turn things around.
This season already has the feel of the 2014 edition, where Hamilton was immediately at a disadvantage by not finishing the first race. The 31-year-old also had to make up deficits over the course of the season, with non-finishes in Canada and Belgium increasing the difficulty.
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Fortunately for the reigning World Champion, he has not suffered a DNF yet, but should he suffer one this weekend it would be the biggest setback to date. Especially since a victory for Rosberg would be his seventh in a row, placing him joint-second on the list for most consecutive wins, just behind Sebastian Vettel's tally of nine. Lewis Hamilton's best run is five.
One ray of light for the triple World Champion fans is that his form has not been poor. He has out-qualified his teammate on two occasions and didn't get a chance to last time out in China. There are, however, no points for Saturday, and points mean prizes.
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The two podium finishes in the first two races of the season are satisfactory at best. The seventh place at the last race was poor. That Mercedes has the capability to achieve a podium even if it has to start from the back of the grid.
Hamilton will take comfort from the fact that only at the starts has Rosberg been able to jump the former McLaren driver. And, had there not been a coming-together with Valtteri Bottas in Bahrain, the results could have been different. Little things like the race starts can determine the winners, though. On such small margins are championships won and in this case, have cost the Brit 17 points.
Hamilton has lots of races left to mount his comeback, assuming he wins every race and Rosberg finishes second, then it would only take six race weekends for the standings to change. The maths is not an issue. The problem for Hamilton is that: if Rosberg continues to claim victories and gain momentum, he will be harder to stop.
Only time will tell how long it will take to pump the brakes on, what has so far this season, been a runaway Rosberg.
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