“I did the best that I could out there today and felt like I was having a strong race,” a downcast Lewis Hamilton told media, after suffering his second DNF in seven races at the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
“Montréal has been a good track for me so to come here and not finish is disappointing but there are plenty more races ahead of us this season so let’s hope for better fortune.
There was nothing I could do about our issues really,” he continued. “These are learning experiences.” It should have been so different.
A mistake in qualifying around the streets of the prestigious principality presented pole, victory and the championship lead to Rosberg, and left an aggrieved Hamilton again on the back foot in the title race: four points adrift.
The incident left a sour taste in the mouth of the 29-year-old Brit, and upon arrival to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve last week, it was clear that Lewis was gunning for revenge on the track where he first triumphed in Formula One.
He wanted, needed to regain some momentum and initiative; and what better place to do so at then his perceived ‘best’ circuit on the current Formula 1 calendar?
Having topped the time sheets in all three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, the stage looked set for a fourth Hamilton pole position of the season, and a possible dominant display on race day.
However, Lady Luck had other plans and the Brit saw his weekend come undone with neither afternoon panning out as expected (a tyre lock left him second on the grid and a power unit and brake failure forced a retirement from the grand prix).
Frustratingly, for Hamilton, Rosberg also struggled with a similar loss of power in yesterday’s race but managed to hold on and bring the car home in second behind eventual winner, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, collecting 18 points in the process.
This, of course, has far-reaching consequences for Hamilton’s championship challenge. Yes, there are 12 grands prix left to run, but any further disasters for the 2008 world champion and a second title year may be toast.
He now trails Rosberg by 22, and as evidenced earlier in the season, when it took four consecutive victories to catch Rosberg up after a DNF in the opening grand prix of the year in Australia: every lost result counts.
There are no guarantees that the German will suffer the same fate as Hamilton regarding retirements either.
Murphy’s Law may suggest that he is due one, but other drivers’ records such as Kimi Räikkönen (38 successive finishes) and Max Chilton (25 successive finishes) prove that sometimes they do elude you.
The four grands prix before the summer break in August will be pivotal for Hamilton’s championship chances.
Two of these (Britain and Hungary) are tracks that he excels at, and having recorded nil points at one of his favourite races yesterday, he will be looking to land a killer blow at these, as well as at Rosberg’s second home circuit (Germany), in a bid to get under his team mate’s skin.
It is a long season, and given that the double points finale at the Yas Marina venue, Abu Dhabi in November is another ‘Hamilton special’, there is no way the boy from Stevenage is down and out, just yet.