Malaysia costly for Hamilton – Wolff

Formula 1

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton's engine failure in Malaysia was the deciding factor in the Drivers' title fight.

Hamilton was forced to relinquish his world championship last weekend, despite victory in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with team mate and rival Nico Rosberg taking the crown.

The German ended up winning the first Drivers’ title of his career by just five points as Hamilton won the final four races of the campaign.

The Brit’s winning run to end 2016 meant it could have been a very different story had the three-time world champion managed to take the chequered flag at the Malaysian Grand Prix in October.

Hamilton had looked on course for victory in Sepang before his engine caught fire.

Rather than trim Rosberg’s lead at the top of the Championship standings to five points at the time, Hamilton slipped 33 points adrift and Wolff feels his DNF in the Far East had a major bearing on the outcome of the title fight.

“This year, clearly Malaysia cost him the championship,” said Wolff. “You need to win and to lose with dignity.

“This is a mechanical sport, if they sat on the floor on the starting grid they wouldn’t go far.

“This team has built them the best car over the last three years and has made them win races and championships.

“This team has let them down on occasions – fewer occasions letting them down than the ones they can celebrate.”


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