Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes driver seeks 'inner strength' in title race

    Hamilton's engine failure in Sepang prevented him from regaining the championship lead.

    Story highlights

    • Lewis Hamilton pledges to dig deep in title battle
    • Briton second behind stable mate Rosberg

    (CNN)As he staggers from one engine failure to another, Lewis Hamilton says he will "find strength from within" as he seeks a third straight world championship.

    The Briton was furious on Sunday after an engine blowout forced him out of the Malaysian Grand Prix, prompting him to lash out at his Mercedes team.
      Hamilton has been bedeviled by a host of engine failures this year while his German stable mate, and championship leader, Nico Rosberg has suffered none.
      The Briton had been on course to retake the drivers' lead on Sunday only to fall 23 points behind instead as his exit helped Rosberg finish third.
      Ahead of Sunday's race in Japan, Hamilton's engine has been sent back to the team's base in England to try to solve a problem that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says has "no rational explanation or pattern."
      "Last weekend was a massive disappointment," Hamilton wrote on the official Mercedes team website. "Not just for me personally but for the whole team."
      "The guys are hurting from what happened too and I know they'll be working just as hard to get things right next time. It's not the lowest point I've had. There have been lower moments for sure.
      "Regardless, I will find strength from within to fight back over the next five race weekends."
      The 31-year-old was comfortably leading in Sepang until his engine caught fire on the 41st of 56 laps, prompting both the driver and Wolff to put their heads in their hands in dismay.
      Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo went on to win his first race of the season as Red Bull recorded their first one-two in three years.
      It was the second race Hamilton failed to finish this year, following on from a crash with Rosberg at May's Spanish Grand Prix.
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      Felipe Massa's top 5 F1 moments 01:40
      That came as Hamilton trailed Rosberg by 43 points after early season engine failures in China and Russia forced him to start both races down the grid.
      Even though the 2008, 2014 and 2015 world champion recovered to lead the drivers' standings after winning six out of seven races mid-season, he opted to replace his old engine with a new one in August -- so taking a substantial engine penalty under new rules.
      Forced to start in the back row for August's Belgian Grand Prix as a result, Hamilton drove brilliantly to finish third as Rosberg won the first of three races.
      The German, also 31, was on the verge of surrendering his lead on Sunday until the blowout, which Mercedes boss Wolff has described as a "massive blow to his campaign," stymied Hamilton's hopes again.
      "There's no use dwelling on these things. That's just negative energy," he said.
      "If I can perform like I did last weekend and the car holds together, then good things can still come my way."
      Hamilton knows that Suzuka represents a serious opportunity, having won there in both 2014 and 2015, but he will also know that Rosberg finished right behind him on both occasions.
      Rosberg and Hamilton have won all but two of this season's 16 races and if the Mercedes team finish the season's remaining five races with one-two finishes, Hamilton would have to win them all to be world champion.
      He is seeking a fourth title that would take him level with Frenchman Alain Prost and Germany's Sebastian Vettel, while Rosberg is chasing a first.
      "I love the Suzuka circuit and I've been quick there for the past two years, so hopefully that trend will continue," Hamilton continued.
      "I know I'll have some fantastic support in the grandstands to lift me up and give me that extra boost.
      "It's insane how crazy they go for the sport and I get a real buzz out of that. Fingers crossed I can make it happen to pay them back for all the love and strength they send my way."
      With 125 points still to play for, Rosberg (288 points) and Hamilton (265) are comfortably ahead of Ricciardo (204) in third position with Kimi Raikkonen (160) a distant fourth.