Hamilton wants Russian win for team to seal title

LONDON • Lewis Hamilton wants to leave Sochi on Sunday with one hand on the drivers' world championship trophy, while his Mercedes team want to leave with both hands on the team trophy.

The Formula One season is closing in on its finale. The only question is when Hamilton and Mercedes will clinch their double title wins for the second time in consecutive seasons.

If Hamilton continues a rich vein of form that has brought eight victories from 14 grands prix, only missing out on the podium twice this season, then his world championship will come sooner rather than later.

However, Mercedes could be in for a repeat of last season when they took the constructors' world championship for the first time in their history in Sochi.

Resistance would seem to be futile, although there is slender hope for the rest: They suffered their worst result in two seasons in Singapore last month and the Sochi track holds similar qualities to the tricky Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Niki Lauda, the Mercedes chairman and three-time world champion, is nervous about a track that is no more than a converted pathway through Sochi's vast Winter Olympic Park. "The championship is not over because my worry is this next race at Sochi has Singapore-type asphalt," he said.

Could there be a curve ball to be thrown at the usually dominant Mercedes squad?

They are certainly not taking anything for granted as F1 prepares to set up camp in Sochi, despite an eighth one-two finish of the season last time out in Japan.

Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes motorsport, said: "A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target. But we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet."

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2015, with the headline 'Hamilton wants Russian win for team to seal title'. Print Edition | Subscribe