Lewis Hamilton must hit back hard at championship rival and teammate Nico Rosberg next weekend in Malaysia.
That is the view of Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda, who told RTL: “Lewis has to come back with all his strength in Kuala Lumpur to end Nico’s incredible run.”
Indeed, since the summer break ended, Rosberg has won three grands prix on the trot and overtaken Hamilton in the points standings.
However, both silver clad drivers might once again be looking over their shoulders in Malaysia, after being beaten in the Sepang heat a year ago by Ferrari.
And Sebastian Vettel was also highly impressive in Singapore last weekend, finishing fifth after starting from the back.
“If Vettel had started where he usually starts, he would have won,” an unnamed Mercedes strategist told Auto Motor und Sport.
But Lauda is not so sure Ferrari or even Red Bull will be such a problem at Sepang.
“This track (Singapore) was an anti-Mercedes track and a total mess for us last year, but this time we won,” he said.
And so the real interest in Malaysia and beyond will be the drivers’ title battle between Hamilton and Rosberg.
“We will see a real battle and which of the two will win, I cannot predict,” team boss Toto Wolff told the APA news agency.
“I saw the best ever Rosberg in Singapore, but that does not mean Hamilton is down. The roles could be reversed again at the next race,” he added.
“I think the fight will continue until the end of the season, because the situation is constantly changing. I see them at the same level,” said Wolff.