Hamilton needs a Suzuka hat trick after Sepang jolt

Hamilton needs a Suzuka hat trick after Sepang jolt
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton reacts as his car is engulfed in flames from the rear during the Malaysian GP in Sepang on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton will have to dig deep to overcome the heartbreak of Malaysia as he heads into Sunday's Formula One Japanese Grand Prix needing a third straight win at the Suzuka circuit to revive his flagging title prospects.
 The triple world champion's hopes of claiming a fourth title were dealt a heavy blow on Sunday at the Sepang circuit when he was forced to retire with a blown engine while holding a comfortable lead with 16 laps remaining.
 That allowed Australian Daniel Ricciardo to score his first win of the year ahead of Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen in the team's first one-two finish since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Had Hamilton won, scoring a landmark 50th career victory, he would have vaulted back to the top of the overall standings ahead of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg. Instead he heads to Japan needing to bridge a 23-point gap to the German, who finished third in Malaysia after being spun around and dropped to the back of the field by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the start.
Vettel will drop three grid places in Japan as punishment for tipping Rosberg into the spin.
"It's not how you fall, it's how you get back up," Hamilton told reporters. "If I can find strength from within to be able to come to these next races and perform like I've performed this weekend then, providing the car holds together, good things will come."
Sunday's engine failure was the latest in a spate of reliability issues that have plagued Hamilton's 2016 campaign and prompted the Briton to hint at a conspiracy.

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