Yet another expert is wondering if a loss of focus might explain Lewis Hamilton’s poor start to the 2016 season.
Although reliability problems badly marred his weekend in Shanghai, the reigning world champion’s defeat to teammate Nico Rosberg was his sixth in succession.
Hamilton is already 36 points behind the sister Mercedes, but Rosberg is not ready to count his chickens.
“The points gap is nothing if you consider all the points still up for grabs this year,” said the German.
But that doesn’t mean Hamilton’s difficult year will not continue in Russia and beyond, causing experts like former F1 driver Franck Montagny to consider the reasons.
“It’s hard to explain,” the Frenchman, who raced for Super Aguri in 2006, told Le Point, a French newsmagazine. “Last year he was untouchable.
“Unlike his teammate (Rosberg), who works tirelessly with his engineers, Lewis Hamilton seems more solitary. He may have been too relaxed in the off-season, not going into the new season with 100 per cent focus.
“Fortunately, he doesn’t show any signs of frustration, but that might not last,” Montagny added.
Hamilton insists that his lack of frustration is because he still feels fully competitive alongside Rosberg, despite the German’s run of wins and early points gap.
“Nico has had two better (race) starts but he’s not yet proved he’s faster than me overall,” Hamilton said at the Laureus awards on Monday.
As for his alleged loss of focus, the Briton added: “I’m super-driven.”
Rosberg, though, is riding a wave of confidence, with former double world champion Mika Hakkinen agreeing the German has been “fantastic” so far in 2016.
“He looks very confident and strong,” the Finn told the Spanish news agency EFE. “But the season is extremely long.”