Lewis Hamilton has slammed ‘bloody ridiculous’ stewards and declared he will have no problems in beating team-mate Nico Rosberg this season.
The Brit vented after Rosberg made it four wins from four in 2016 at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton, who finished second in Sochi, started 10th on the grid but stormed his way up the field, eventually closing to within seven-and-a-half seconds of Rosberg by lap 36.
• Police reviewing Lewis Hamilton incident caught on video
• Reclusive Socceroos captain bankrupt after failed investments
• The 127kg Aussie who is ‘talk of the town’ in the United States
• The horrific abuse suffered by female sports reporters
But then came the dreaded order from team engineers: ease off to protect the car. Failing water pressure was the culprit.
Rosberg went on to win, his seventh victory in a row, giving him a 43-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.
And Hamilton snapped, aiming fire at Rosberg and Mercedes.
“My concern is not about beating Nico,” he boldly declared.
“I don’t have a problem with that.
“My concern is more the guys giving me a car to be able to fight equally.
“Do I think it (problems) is not going to happen again? No. There’ll be problems ahead.”
Hamilton acknowledged that Rosberg’s lead was already significant, less than a fifth through the season, but said he was out to “give him hell”.
“He (Nico) has a buffer knowing even if he has two bad weekends, he is still in the fight, which is a huge confidence boost,” he added.
“Generally, he has been starting at the front with no one to really bother him so it has been a nice Sunday drive for him.
“But there are still 17 races to go, and still 17 races I can give him hell.”
Then it was the stewards in the firing line.
Hamilton’s weekend in Sochi was soured by a reprimand – the second he has received already this year.
It came after he went wide at a turn during qualifying, and followed a penalty for reversing in pit lane in Bahrain.
Another reprimand in 2016 will see Hamilton slapped with a 10-place grid penalty.
“I am just aware that there is most likely going to be at least one 10-place penalty in the future because I have one more reprimand to go,” he said.
“The last one was bloody ridiculous.
“It’s quite funny you know. When I was in karting there was one steward – he was just there to make everyone’s weekend a bad weekend.
“I’m starting to reminisce about that recently.
“Families would turn up and spend so much money to be there at the weekend and there was one guy who was a complete a***hole.
“I’ve heard he is still there. He was just there to ruin people’s weekend. I’ve started to see signs of him.”
“I want to ignore this bunch of lunatics”
Rosberg’s run of success – after two successive Hamilton titles – has seen several motorsport fans accuse Mercedes of favouring the German driver.
But that accusation was rubbished by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who said his team were not in the business of making cars not to win.
“It is very difficult to take people seriously who are lying in bed with their laptop on their chest and just sending out those abusive messages,” he said.
“You wonder what goes through people’s minds. Of course we don’t do it deliberately.
“I want to ignore this bunch of lunatics who think we would harm our driver who is a double world champion for us.
“He hasn’t let us down and we wouldn’t let him down.
“This is a mechanical sport and these things happen, we had a problem on the MGU-K drive (water pressure) on Nico’s car and it looked as if he might not finish the race.
“We are pushing the limits a lot on the chassis and the engine in order to have a competitive car and this is why we are winning races, but if you push the limits at a certain stage you find them.”
Hamilton’s next chance to defeat Rosberg will come at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 15.