Lewis Hamilton keeps confidence in Mercedes despite Singapore slump
"I never had a loss of trust or confidence in this team" says Lewis; Hamilton also reveals Mercedes now have reasons for what went wrong in Singapore
By Pete Gill and James Galloway at Suzuka
Last Updated: 29/09/15 10:43am
Lewis Hamilton has insisted his confidence in his Mercedes team remains absolute, despite quotes to the contrary following what was, relatively speaking, a torrid week for the team in Singapore.
Not only did Hamilton suffer his first race-ending retirement in over a year during last Sunday's grand prix, but the world champions were rocked by a mysterious loss of pace which culminated in Hamilton being out-paced by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 1.5 seconds in qualifying.
But even after Vettel's resounding victory, there isn't a driver in the field who would not swap their position with Hamilton's place at the summit of the World Championship. The Englishman continues to boast a 41-point lead in the title race and is adamant his belief in his Silver Arrows team remains undimmed.
"I have full my confidence in my team," Hamilton assured Sky Sports News HQ ahead of this weekend's Japanese GP.
The two-time world champion had been widely quoted earlier in the week as saying: "I don't have any confidence. I don't have any information to give me that confidence. I'm hoping it's a one-off but it was a strange weekend to say the least."
Upon arriving in Suzuka, however, Hamilton was at pains to stress that his faith in the Mercedes package hadn't been affected by their unexpected loss of pace.
"I only found out today that there were a lot of stories this week misquoting. I have never had a loss of trust or confidence in this team," Hamilton maintained. "And why would I? We have had unbelievable success, we have won 20-odd races over the last two years and now we've had one difficult race."
In fact, Hamilton later revealed on Thursday that Mercedes were confident they had now got to the bottom of what went so awry for them in Singapore, even if he wasn't going to divulge the information.
"I can't tell you what the team have come up with, but they have come up with a lot of reasons and solutions for the way it was," he told reporters.
"The majority of them believe that one of the many reasons we came up with had a dominio effect. So I'm confident it has been understand, but they will continue to do analysis."
The 30-year-old also batted away the 'conspiracy' theories doing the rounds since Mercedes' shock defeat to Ferrari and Red Bull last weekend.
"To be honest, I've not been thinking about it. Whatever happened, happened," he insisted. "There are reasons in our balance, the set-up we had and the balance we went down [which] affected the car and the tyres the way it did. The other teams perhaps did better than us so I don't believe in all that conspiracy stuff. I just put it down to the technical side of things and we could have done a better job."
Yet while Hamilton has kept his belief in Mercedes, his defiant confidence doesn't extend to unequivocal expectation that the team will rediscover their mojo this weekend in Japan.
"Coming here, I have no idea how it is going to be," Hamilton conceded. "We might driver the car and find we have the same problem. We might drive the car and, hopefully, we won't have the same problem and it was just the [Singapore] track."
He added: "You can never say never. So I'm not sitting here thinking it was a fluke or anything like that - sometimes there's going to be situations like that, whether it's this year or next year or the year after. So I'm hoping we're going to learn from that weekend and it won't happen again."
But the one solace for Hamilton is that, despite his race retirement in Singapore, he is unlikely to be forced into introducing his fourth and final penalty-free engine this weekend.
"The engine looks good and healthy," Hamilton confirmed. "The team have been very clear about what happened and they have already gone back to the factory and redesigned the specific part."
Japanese GP talking points
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