Nov.29 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Lewis Hamilton says he has traced his current failure to match teammate Nico Rosberg’s pace to a change Mercedes made to the car’s suspension two months ago.
Rosberg’s five-pole streak became six in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, despite the fact the German was worried an “extremely old” engine would cost him horse power against Hamilton.
“To be that far ahead, I’m very chuffed,” Rosberg said, referring to his four-tenth gap to Hamilton.
Since his losing streak to Rosberg began, Hamilton has been hinting at a technical change made by Mercedes as a reaction to the team’s Singapore slump in late September.
In Abu Dhabi, he traced it to a suspension part or setting.
“Coming into this weekend I tried to make some changes,” the triple world champion said.
“I have used that (suspension setting) for the last six races and today I thought I would be able to get back to where I was before, but obviously it didn’t work out.”
Rosberg dismisses that theory, insisting the pendulum of form has simply swung in his direction lately.
Hamilton said: “It might look like the other side is going a lot better but I see it differently. Our side has gone a lot worse.”
Even more worrying for Hamilton is that Mercedes insists its car development direction is correct, with the British driver agreeing that the team intends to keep following that course into 2016.
“We are developing the car constantly, bringing new parts,” team boss Toto Wolff told Bild newspaper. “On paper, the car is faster, even if it may feel differently for Lewis.”
Rosberg is also not buying Hamilton’s explanation, insisting the development of the car has already moved on so much since Singapore.
“You can’t compare the setup of Singapore or anywhere with here,” he told Auto Motor und Sport, “because every circuit it is different. Everything we did after Singapore was to avoid making the same mistakes.”
Niki Lauda, the Mercedes team chairman, puts the hierarchy change at Mercedes down to Rosberg’s good form, particularly with his engine power deficit in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s unbelievable what he did on that lap,” he said. “I can only take my hat off to him, because it’s a miracle if you compare it to Lewis.
“Nico is currently on a high that has lasted for several races. He has simply done a very good job — no need to say any more.”