Unlike the past three seasons, things haven’t quite gone to plan for Lewis Hamilton.
With just five races to go this season, his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg leads the Championship by 23 points, and he took the chance to take a sly dig at Hamilton before qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Last week, Hamilton missed out on victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix after an engine fire caused him to retire with just 15 laps remaining with the 31-year-old leading the race.
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His retirement from the race gave Rosberg the chance to extend his gap at the top of the Championship, recovering from a spin on the first lap to finish third.
Hamilton made the headlines once more on Thursday, when he spent much of the pre-race press conference on his phone, sending a number of photos on social media app Snapchat.
The Englishman was heavily criticised for his behaviour, but defended himself on Twitter, saying: “Today was meant to be fun, not at all disrespectful.”
In the build up to this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, Rosberg took a swipe at Hamilton, saying his impressive form, which has seen him win three of the past four races, was down to him not doing “rubbish stuff” such as “partying until five in the morning”.
“My experience helps,” said the German.
“I’ve really learned to manage my energies and know where not to waste energies in rubbish stuff like reading the news a lot, playing computer games or partying until five in the morning.
"I’ve made big progress there. I like to take the right approach.”
On Saturday, Rosberg took pole position for the race in Japan, finishing his lap just over a tenth of a second faster than his team mate Hamilton.
Victory on Sunday will move Rosberg a step closer to his first Formula 1 Championship and likely lead to more frustration for Hamilton.