Hamilton to make amends for last season: Jordan

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is the bookmakers' favourite to finish as this season's world champion as the Australian Grand Prix, F1's opening race, flags off this Sunday.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is the bookmakers' favourite to finish as this season's world champion as the Australian Grand Prix, F1's opening race, flags off this Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Lewis Hamilton only has himself to blame for losing the Formula One (F1) world championship last year but can rectify the mistake this season, according to former team owner Eddie Jordan.

Hamilton lost out on his fourth drivers' championship to Nico Rosberg, his Mercedes team-mate who is now retired - a result the Briton put down to reliability issues.

But Jordan says that Hamilton lost his focus after going into the summer break with a lead of 19 points.

"I think he is wounded because he lost last year," Jordan, who is now a pundit on Channel 4's coverage of Formula One in the UK, said.

"He should never have lost it and he knows that. He let that one slip away and whether it's slipping through the net, or whatever it is, he took his eye off the ball. It was unprofessional.

"He had the championship wrapped up leaving on summer break. He went off to the United States. He did other things. He thought it was his and so did I."

Rosberg returned from the break to win four out of five races and Hamilton never really recovered.

Jordan added that the Briton will have learnt his lesson "from taking his focus and mind away from the championship" last year and will be able to "rectify it because he learns quickly".

And unfortunately for race fans, the battle at the front of the grid may not be as close as pre-season testing in Barcelona would have suggested, Jordan believes.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was quickest over the eight days and the only driver to dip into the 1 min 18sec laps.

The Scuderia were followed by Mercedes and Red Bull, who struggled with reliability issues relating to their Renault engine.

Ferrari, Jordan said, were "trying to pretend" they were better than they were.

He expects Red Bull to be better at the first race in Melbourne on Sunday, but the only team "playing a straight bat" was Mercedes, who he believes look "very strong".

"I hope I'm wrong. I just fear the way testing is operated, as a team owner, I could do virtually anything. There were no scrutinisers," he said.

"But there's no lying on the stopwatch, so when qualifying starts (on Saturday), that's when we'll know."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Hamilton to make amends for last season: Jordan'. Print Edition | Subscribe