Formula One podcast: With five races to go, can Lewis Hamilton still win his fourth title? - Firstpost

Formula One podcast: With five races to go, can Lewis Hamilton still win his fourth title?

Nico Rosberg is lucky that Mercedes built him a tank that went through the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix undamaged. Rosberg was lucky on several other counts too, including the clean getaway that he got (the Mercedes cars can't take that for granted anymore) and two virtual safety car (VSC) periods that helped him climb back up the order.

Daniel Ricciardo had a great result to win the race. Will drivers not want to be on the podium with Ricciardo though, given his love for the "shoey"?! Mark Webber was smart, he threw away Ricciardo's shoe — the other podium victims need to learn from him. Given how much the FIA loves clamping down on everything that's fun in F1, maybe they will ban the shoey on the podium too?

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (left) holds a 23-point lead over teammate Lewis Hamilton. AP

Red Bull Racing should get a big vote of thanks for allowing Ricciardo and Verstappen to race fair and square. The Australian managed to do what a lot of drivers have not done this season — he kept Verstappen behind on track (he claims to have learnt this from Verstappen himself).

Lewis Hamilton made the race interesting — thanks to his engine failure and his post-race comments, or both! Hamilton believes that "something or someone doesn't want him to win this year" — and he's right. We tell you who this person in the Mercedes garage is, who has been mercilessly trying to keep Hamilton from winning.

Nico Rosberg's penalty was strange; it seems the FIA does not want drivers to overtake on track at all! Rosberg has notched up so many penalties this season that he's halfway to a race ban already. Clearly, "someone or something" is conspiring against him, to get him so many penalties!

Hamilton's bad luck was actually Mercedes' bad luck — they lost their second attempt at equaling the record for the most consecutive wins in Formula 1.

Speaking of records, Jenson Button notched up 300 Grand Prix starts, and McLaren celebrated this by turning their paddock into an English pub (luckily no shoeys on offer there). But McLaren is now squarely part of the midfield teams, with Williams and Force India for company. If so, they're still at the bottom of that midfield.

Ferrari's race was like how their whole season has been: All talk. Surprisingly, Raikkonen is outperforming Vettel. Perhaps Vettel will go the Fernando Alonso way if Ferrari are unable to deliver a winning package in 2017.

BMW recently announced their motorsport programme and it doesn't feature F1, but does include Formula E and the WEC. We guess they've been listening to Alonso's criticism of the sport and decided to stay out altogether!

Finally, here's the big question: Can Hamilton still win the World Drivers' Championship? Five races and 125 points to go. Let's just hope it's not a clutch, an engine, or swapping of teams that decides this year's champion.

Suzuka is up this weekend, and it promises to be a real cracker. Will it be a Mercedes 1-2 again, or can Red Bull Racing challenge them?

Tune in!

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