GPI 2016 Japanese Grand Prix - Page 108

FEATURE L ewis Hamilton will take the Formula One title race down to the wire, insisted Mercedes boss Toto Wolff after the Briton was floored by a rampant Nico Rosberg in Japan. Rosberg has opened a 33-point lead over his British foe with just four races left and will take some stopping in this form. But while Hamilton’s hopes of retaining his crown were left hanging by a thread, Wolff predicted a backlash from the triple world champion. “It’s not over,” said the Austrian, who barely had time to savour a third successive constructors’ title for Mercedes in Japan. “Lewis is going to come back strong, he needs the enemy sometimes. That’s how he functions.” Rosberg dominated all weekend at Suzuka as Hamilton appeared to lose the plot, even hinting that sabotage may have been to blame for the engine blaze that cruelly robbed him of a certain victory in Malaysia a week earlier, much to the dismay of his Mercedes team. Hamilton’s behaviour grew increasingly bizarre in Japan, where he battled back to take third after a horror start saw him fall back to eighth. He snubbed media after being widely criticised for fiddling with his mobile phone and uploading bunny-ear photos to Snapchat during an official FIA press conference. British tabloids duly let rip at Hamilton, one labelling him “Snap-Prat” and another “Berk in the Merc” – slang terms for “fool”.