Is it already too late for Lewis Hamilton to catch Nico Rosberg?
If Lewis Hamilton is to become a four-time world champion this year the Brit is going to have to do it the hard way after a pretty torrid start to the campaign.
The reigning champion trails Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by 36 points after just three races, with the German sailing to three straight wins while Hamilton has hit trouble time after time.
Lewis’ latest difficulties saw him start last in China, and then suffer his second first-corner incident in succession to come home a lowly seventh.
Following on from the tail end of 2015, Rosberg has now won six races in succession, and every driver who has begun a campaign with three straight wins has gone on to become champion.
So, can Lewis turn it around? Here’s what can help or hinder his latest title bid…
Speed. In the two qualifying sessions Hamilton has been allowed to compete in (car failure in China) he’s stuck his Mercedes W06 on pole and there’s no question he’s as quick as ever.
Calendar. The 2016 campaign is set to feature a record-breaking 21 races, meaning there’s still 18 to go. That’s as many as any previous F1 season up until 2005, so Hamilton has plenty of time to play catch-up.
Rivals. Ferrari and Red Bull have caught up significantly over the winter and should Hamilton encounter any more issues, he’ll have to deal with four other cars potentially taking points away from him.
Focus. With Lewis busy cruising the world in his private jet, heading to fashion shows and the rest, one could argue he’s taken his eye off the game. The Brit has also said he’ll leave F1 well behind when his career comes to an end.
With Rosberg still chasing that first world title, could the German simply want it a little more this year?
Those who fancy Hamilton to pull off the turnaround will want to back him sooner rather than later, as above-evens odds of 11/8 won’t stick around once Lewis hits his stride.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.