Hamilton needs a Russian hat-trick

Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:21am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton is the only Formula One driver to have won the Russian Grand Prix and, with Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg on a red-hot winning streak, needs to keep it that way on Sunday.

The Briton will be toiling flat out on May Day, the international workers' holiday, to deny his German rival a seventh successive win and fourth of the sport's longest ever season.

Hamilton won the inaugural race around the 2014 Winter Olympic Park and returned last October to repeat the feat after Rosberg had secured pole position but then retired with a throttle failure.

While that victory set Hamilton up for the title, which he took in Texas two weeks later, Sunday's race has been moved to the Russian national holiday slot with the 2016 championship still in its infancy.

Hamilton is already 36 points behind Rosberg and while he is unlikely to be sending out any Mayday distress signals the Briton is in definite need of a track turnaround.

"There was plenty going through my head after China, as you'd expect," he said after starting that third race of the season at the back of the grid and finishing seventh.

"But, after all these years, experience has taught me to stay calm and keep pushing forwards when I get knocked back. I've been here before a few times now.

"Adversity is part of the journey," he added. "There are lots of positives to carry into the next battle. If nothing else, I know after these first few races that I can still overtake."   Continued...

Formula One - Chinese F1 Grand Prix - Shanghai, China - 17/4/16 - Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain before the Chinese Grand Prix. REUTERS/Aly Song