Perhaps sometime during the close season Lewis Hamilton walked under a ladder, broke a mirror and failed to find a lucky penny. Something must have happened because yet again his hopes of winning another world title have been dashed by poor luck.
A few weeks ago Lewis was driving around and around the Barcelona track being bored senseless while testing his Mercedes. Reliability seemed assured but that’s probably the last thing he believes in now. After problems in China caused him to start at the back of the grid, he had further problems in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.
That hybrid system failure came back to haunt Hamilton again and he’ll start 10th on the grid way behind Nico Rosberg who again managed to get pole. That means the chances of Hamilton being able to reduce the 36 point gap between himself and the German are slim. To the contrary he’s likely to drop even further behind Rosberg.
Second in qualifying was Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari. He drops down to seventh after a five place grid penalty due to a gearbox change. That’s good news for Valteri Bottas as the Williams driver will start in second place on the grid. The key fact is that Rosberg was 0.706 seconds ahead of Vettel so the chances of the German winning a fourth straight race are looking pretty good barring mechanical failure.
Vettel’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen is in third and a great performance for Williams continued with Felipe Massa starting fourth on the grid.
Speaking after his disappointing qualifying Hamilton tried to put on a brave face saying “I will try to recover what I can from wherever I start.” He faces yet more problems through being under investigation for not rejoining the track in the correct manner after his Mercedes went wide at Turn Two in the first qualifying session. Even if he gets away with that there could be more grid penalties on their way with Mercedes planning to do more work on his car.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was a puzzled man after the qualifying problems. He said it appeared to be the same fault as beset the car in China even though all the parts had been changed. “There is no explanation” he said.
It’s looking like another great weekend for Nico Rosberg with his Mercedes head and shoulders above the pack at present. A win will equal the performances of Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna of four straight wins at the start of the season and the chance to equal the record of five set by Nigel Mansell in 1992.
Lewis Hamilton has to hope for another heroic performance and somehow get a high finish. He’ll probably have to have his fingers crossed though hoping to avoid more problems in this highly unlucky season for the British driver.