Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton demands answers from Mercedes following yet another mechanical problem this season, with the latest being an engine failure at the Sepang International Circuit.
He also raised the question of sabotage within the team that has affected him significantly in the Driver’s Championship.
Hamilton secured his eighth pole of the 2016 calendar in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday and was hoping for a win to edge ahead of teammate and title challenger Nico Rosberg.
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Although the race began in favourable fashion for the British racer, with Rosberg colliding with Sebastian Vettel at turn one on the first lap, it all ended rather sour once again.
The 31-year-old was visibly unhappy when he became aware of smoke emerging from his engine on lap 43, which resulted in his retirement from the race.
Hamilton was comfortably in the lead and was on course to register his 50th career win in Formula 1, but he was denied by the turn of events.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, as reported by The Daily Mirror, he said: “Someone doesn’t want me to win this year. My question is to Mercedes. We have so many engines made for drivers, but mine are the only ones failing this year.”
He added: “Someone needs to give me some answers because this is not acceptable. We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing.”
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda deemed the conspiracy claims as “ridiculous and stupid”, according to Autosport.com.
In an interview to reporters in the Sepang paddock, the 67-year-old said: “I know Lewis very well, and he will not accuse the team.
“This interpretation I cannot accept. What do you guys think, suddenly we start to sabotage? Why? It’s completely ridiculous and stupid.”
With Rosberg finishing third in Malaysia, the gap between the duo extends to 23 points as they prepare for next week’s showdown in Japan.
Hamilton will be aiming to overturn his fortunes in the coming week, having won twice in a row at the Suzuka Circuit in the last two years.
Only time will tell if the champion can produce a dynamic display against his German teammate in the days to come.
Can Lewis Hamilton overturn the points deficit? Leave YOUR predictions below!