Put Spa to one side for the moment. While there are many races in the 2014 season – and F1’s ridiculous double-points finale – left to run, Hamilton looks like he’s blown it. And it’s not because of Mercedes favouritism, DNFs or the deliberate/accidental attention of his team-mate
Recently he looks like a man over-driving. Hamilton is the most naturally-gifted driver in F1. Put him and his rivals in identical cars, with no scope for set-up tweaks, and Lewis will be faster nine times out of ten. This talent has helped him become a success but is also his biggest weakness.
Rosberg is working his car to suit him and each circuit. Nico knows he isn’t faster than Lewis but he is the smarter driver; and Lewis is panicking. Instead of working with his engineers, Lewis looks like a man trying to wring the neck of what he has under him and focusing too much on what his team-mate is doing. And when it doesn’t work he retreats within himself. The result is either a sullen, mono-syllabic version of himself or one firing verbal salvos/grumbles to the assembled media.
Hamilton can still win the title this year. First though he needs to ignore his team-mate, stop over-driving and start pushing his engineers to work the car towards his style. Even the best drivers from F1’s glittering history needed a car that worked for them. Fernando Alonso’s recent brave but fruitless attempts at Ferrari demonstrate that.