Remember the 'Rope a Dope', Hamilton reminds Rosberg

Mon Apr 4, 2016 2:35am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton says he has no concerns about Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg's five-race winning streak or his own poor starts this season.

The Briton, who has not won a race since clinching his third title in Texas last October, told reporters he felt psychologically stronger than ever despite the setbacks.

"This is a psychological game, for sure," Hamilton told reporters after finishing third in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix despite starting on pole position for the second race in a row.

"It is a battle. I guess with age and experience, I’m in the most solid place I’ve ever been psychologically. There’s very little if anything that can penetrate that ... there’s a long way to go."

Referencing Muhammad Ali's 'Rope a Dope' tactics in the 1974 'Rumble in the Jungle' heavyweight title fight against George Foreman, Hamilton suggested Rosberg's early season victories might not count for anything in the end.

"You can’t win them all," he added. "Not that this is the same, but Muhammad Ali with that Rumble in the Jungle, he got the dude to believe that he was winning and he didn’t. So anything can happen."

Hamilton is now 17 points behind Rosberg, but 19 races remain in a championship with more rounds than ever.

He had looked a good bet for a third successive win in Bahrain after seizing pole with the fastest ever lap around the Sakhir circuit but once again lost out at the start.   Continued...

Formula One -  Australia Grand Prix - Melbourne, Australia - 20/03/16 -  Australian Formula One Grand Prix winner, Mercedes F1 driver Nico Rosberg (R) speaks with team mate Lewis Hamilton at the post-race press conference in Melbourne.   REUTERS/Brandon Malone