Loss of form baffles Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton found himself unable to offer a simple explanation for his ongoing woes following yet more disappointment at Suzuka yesterday.

Hamilton was caught with a double whammy in the Japanese Grand Prix as he saw Sebastian Vettel deservedly become a two-time Formula One champion and McLaren team-mate Jenson Button take the race victory.



Not for the first time in recent weeks Hamilton appeared a dejected figure when he spoke post-race, at least doing so on this occasion given his no-show in Singapore after his bust-up with Felipe Massa.



The body language from the 26-year-old, his lack of a smile, would suggest there is something gnawing away at him in a season littered with incidents and penalties.



While he will not admit it, the fact he is now being comfortably beaten by Button, as has been the case in the last five races, will also hurt someone unaccustomed to being second best in a team he has made his own over the years.



It was suggested to Hamilton he looked tired, needed to refocus, that his issues were perhaps mental, that he was trying too hard, but he shook his head to all possible suggestions.



Instead, with brutal honesty, Hamilton was at a loss to understand the reasons behind a situation that has seen him outscored by Button 101 points to 44 in the last five races, other than sheer speed.



"You're all trying to put out solutions as to why I'm not going well, but there is no solution, there is no answer to it," said Hamilton.



"I don't know what the answer is, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't just jump to conclusions because I don't know what the answer is.



"I just wasn't quick enough. I was quick in qualifying, I wasn't quick in the race.



"I just struggled to keep pace with the guys at the front. That's the way it is."



The "not quick enough" line was uttered three times, appreciating that with Button winning at Suzuka there are no problems with the car, that it is down to himself.



When asked what he could do, Hamilton's response was terse.



"If I knew that then I'd be doing it," he said.



Another issue Hamilton is unlikely to admit to is that the dynamic between himself and Button has dramatically turned.



When Button signed for the team, doubts were raised over whether he would ever be able to compete alongside Hamilton, and for the most part that was true last season.



But with experience of the inner workings of McLaren has come an increase in self-belief that he can compete, with performances to match of late that have put him on a par with Sebastian Vettel.



Asked whether Hamilton has had to readjust given the change in Button, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "Jenson is proving to be a formidable team-mate.



"At the point we signed Jenson everybody said he must be mad, that he will get destroyed by Lewis.



"Jenson realised straightaway the natural talent and speed of Lewis, but he kept his head and decided 'I'll do what I do best', and that's thinking things through.



"He is also an incredibly quick driver as well, and now he is on an upward swing, but bear in mind he is five years ahead of Lewis in his professional development.



"I'm a lousy statistician, but it was about 110 races before Jenson won a grand prix. Comparatively to where Lewis is right now, he had not even won a race."



In his debut year in 2007, Hamilton came within a point of the title before becoming the youngest world champion a year later.



As Whitmarsh points out, with such a rise to prominence has come "massive expectations on very young shoulders".



"When you start and it's all very easy, then you have that pressure and expectation," added Whitmarsh.



"That takes some adjustment. He is dealing with that, and I am sure he will. He is a tough little fighter, and I'm sure he's going to come good very, very soon.



"Undoubtedly this has been an incredibly difficult season for him, and he is disappointed in that.



"But he could win next weekend. We all know it, and we all sense it, and suddenly it's the bounce back.



"He just has to keep his head. He is still a naturally very gifted, incredible racing driver, and it will come good, I'm quite sure of that."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence