Lewis Hamilton admits F1 championship is slipping away
A luckless Lewis Hamilton says he is running out of time to turn the championship tide back in his favour following his latest setback at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who touched down in Tokyo on Monday evening ahead of this week's race in Japan, is now 23 points behind Nico Rosberg in the Formula One drivers' title standings with only five rounds remaining.
The world champion was on course to wrest back control of the championship on Sunday only for his engine to blow up with just 15 laps of the race remaining.
Asked if he felt he was now running short on time to win his fourth title, Hamilton said: "Yes. When we had the problems in the first part of the season you always had the feeling that it is slipping through your fingers and there is nothing you can do about it.
"Then we had a splurge of good results, and then a bunch of difficult results, and this similar kind of feeling that I had back in Barcelona (where he and Rosberg collided on track).
"I have no idea what is going to happen in these next five races. All I can do is what I have done here. Come correct, be as focused as I can possibly be, put in the performances that I have this weekend, and pray that the car still holds together. I still have faith and hope, and that is a powerful thing."
Hamilton appeared to hint at foul play from within his own Mercedes camp following his third engine failure of the season while leading Sunday's race in Sepang.
In the immediate aftermath of his retirement, Hamilton said: "Something or someone doesn't want me to win this year."
The 31-year-old Briton, who is deeply religious, later insisted he was speaking about God.
"It is not my lowest point - I have had lower points for sure - but in terms of feeling helpless that is the most helpless I can be at this point," Hamilton added.
Rosberg, who commendably fought from last back to third after a collision with Sebastian Vettel at the first corner, must now be considered as the favourite to win this most see-saw of championships.
But, following engine gremlins for Hamilton in previous races, it has been suggested that the German would be a lucky champion.
"It is a mechanical sport and these things happen," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said.
"I don't think it will have put any shadow on the championship. The championship isn't over yet. There are another five races to go.
"Let them battle it out on track, hopefully without any reliability blows in the next five races, and then see where we are."