Lewis Hamilton has refused to attribute Nico Rosberg's impressive lead in the Driver's Championship this season to a change in the German's approach.
Instead, the British driver has emphasised the engine problems he faced during the season as the primary reason for trailing his Mercedes teammate.
Rosberg holds a massive 26-point lead at the top having won nine races this year, and he could seal the championship this weekend at the Mexican Grand Prix if he wins and Hamilton finishes 10th or lower.
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After only registering five and six wins during the 2014 and 2015 campaigns respectively, the German driver seems to have dramatically improved his pedigree this time around.
However, Hamilton thinks otherwise, saying: "Nope. But I've had a lot of [mechanical] failures. That's the only difference," when asked if he noticed any change in his teammate's approach this season.
The Brit suffered a series of engine failures during the course of the season, the first of which occurred during qualifying at the Russian, Chinese, and Belgian Grand Prix respectively.
Another major failure during the Malaysian Grand Prix forced him to retire after his car caught fire.
Hamilton firmly believes that without those technical hiccups, this season would have shaped up similar to his title winning seasons in 2014 and 2015.
The 31-year-old said: "I think if both our cars had been fully reliable all year long we would have had pretty much the same battle we've had all last year and the year before, so I don't see it being any different."
When asked about Rosberg's insistence on focusing on a single race and not the title, Hamilton claimed that it is a strategy by the championship leader to deal with the pressure that accompanies occupying top spot.
He added: "That is just a tactic that he has taken on board this year. Obviously that helps him stay focused on the job at hand and different people have different ways of dealing with pressure. Obviously there is pressure there and that's just how he's handling it."
A glimmer of hope still exists for Hamilton, but the current World Champion will, at the least, need to win all three of the remaining races - in Mexico, Brazil, and Abu Dhabi - and hope that Rosberg slips up drastically.
Even if Hamilton wins the three races, two second-place finishes and another third-place finish would guarantee the German his first Formula One title.
The British driver has acknowledged that fact saying: "I have to win all the races.
"I knew that at the last race, so people can interpret it anyway they want, but I know that I've got to win and I'm just going to try to do the best job I can in terms of getting in my car, qualifying and driving time on the track.
"I'll really try to apply everything I've learned over these years, and if there was ever a time for me to be the best I've ever been, it's at these last three races."
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