Lewis Hamilton brushes off the idea that he could be worried after losing out to Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the first two rounds of the 2016 F1 season.
For the second time in a row, the reigning world champion failed to convert his pole position into a win, as a poor start and subsequent first-corner contact forced Hamilton to engage in damage limitation at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
- GALLERY: Bahrain Grand Prix
The Briton is now trailing Rosberg by 17 points in the Drivers’ standings, and has not tasted victory since wrapping up his third title in Austin last October. But Hamilton insists his rival’s five-race winning streak leaves him unfazed.
“I would not consider the last five,” he said. “I could not care less that [Nico]’s won the last five. The last two, it’s only two in the season so the last five does not count. You win consecutively in a season. Five over two seasons, for me, does not mean psychologically anything.
“Ultimately, I feel generally very positive even though we have lost the first two races because of the foundation-building work that we have been doing with my engineers. We have been working together for four years now and the communication is better than ever. The team, the strength that we have, I know it’s going to come good.
“That’s why when you guys [the media] asked me whether I am worried, I am not because we’ve had two poles and we’re going to get more. There’s no real flaw in our procedures, and the way we work is that strong. That’s what gives me hope that it will continue and things will start getting better.”
Having come out on top against Rosberg in the last two championship fights, Hamilton feels he is in the best shape of his career.
“This is a psychological game…also a battle. I guess with age and experience. I am in the most solid place that I have ever been psychologically. There is very little if anything that can penetrate that.
“Naturally, nobody likes losing. All my guys, and guys at the factory are working so hard. With my engineers, we did such a fantastic job again [last] weekend, which we could have easily converted that into a win.
“We had the pace [to win], so we all feel the pain jointly together. But I just said: ‘Guys, there is a long long way to go. Don’t stress and let’s keep working as hard as we have been. You can’t win them all.’
“Not that this is the same but like Muhammad Ali in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ [a classic boxing fight between Ali and George Foreman in 1974] who led the other dude to believe that he was winning and then he did not, anything can happen.”
RACE REPORT: Rosberg beats Raikkonen to win in Bahrain
AS IT HAPPENED: Bahrain Grand Prix
GALLERY: Sakhir podium
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