By Ros Satar

Lewis Hamilton still struggling with engine failures as his grip on his title is slipping

  • Nico Rosberg wins his fourth race this season
  • Hamilton battles back from 10th on the grid
  • Surely title hopes are all but gone for the Brit?

SOCHI, RUSSIA – Once more Mercedes ruled the roost, with Nico Rosberg claiming his fourth straight win this season, even though Lewis Hamilton made up eight places to land on the podium.

Hamilton had suffered an engine failure in qualifying but there was nothing to fault his racing as he tried to put himself back in contention in terms of defending his title.

His luck was better that Sebastian Vettel, who was spectacularly bounced out on the first lap after being hit twice by Daniil Kvyat, racing in his home Grand Prix. This comes on top of their heated discussion in the post-race room in China after Kvyat’s aggressive move saw Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikonnen clip each other.

Vettel turned the air blue and made sure that Red Bull boss Christian Horner knew how he felt, while Kvyat received a 10-second stop-go penalty for his transgression.

In the McLaren Honda camp, Fernando Alonso netted the team’s best placing, finishing in sixth, while Jenson Button fought back from dropping down to 15th after getting caught up by the clash between Kvyat and Vettel, eventually finishing 10th and snaring the final point.

But the engine difficulties that are plaguing Hamilton are surely a concern to the Mercedes engineers given that Rosberg’s power unit was giving strange signals too.

As reported by the BBC, Hamilton said: “My concern is not about beating Nico. My concern is more the guys giving me a car to be able to fight equally. Do I think it is not going to happen again? No. There’ll be problems ahead.”

The same engine failure has now set him back in China and Russia, and two slow starts in Australia and Bahrain at least saw him on the podium, albeit behind Rosberg but at least he was in contention.

He continued: “I’m not sure I’ve ever been big believer in luck. There is a reason for everything. What those are, I don’t know. I am not hoping for it to get better, I am just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I am doing the job as well as I can do.”

Hamilton needs for Rosberg to fail to score a point, and for him to grab a victory and another second placing to draw level. No driver has ever lost the Championship after such a dominant start, so the pressure is on Rosberg, but with the continuing engine issues, Hamilton has his hands full just making the grid.

Rosberg remained relatively grounded, saying: “For sure it is a lot of points but there is a long way to go. Lewis is as strong as ever and it will be the usual tough battle with him. It is just about going race by race at the moment.”

The win puts the German 43 points ahead in the Drivers’ Championship.

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