There’s nothing like a good old fashioned persecution complex to stoke the fires and revive a flagging title defence.
Some sports teams pin an unfavourable media report to the dressing room wall to fuel motivation but Mercedes could look to the powers that be to direct their fury after taking an extraordinary victory in the Sao Paolo Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was simply immense in Interlagos, shrugging off every perceived slight and disappointment to produce a drive that will surely rank among the very best of his remarkable 101 winning total.
Mercedes were hopping mad after Saturday’s Sprint race disqualification believing that exceeding the 0.2mm maximum on Hamilton’s rear wing was within an acceptable margin of error and that a loose screw or some sort of damage could easily explain the discrepancy.
Either way, there weren’t too many who believed that Mercedes were cheating with the DRS in that way, although Red Bull seem more than a little perplexed about the Mercedes straight-line speed advantage at a circuit which instead had been expected to favour the Milton Keynes based team.
Thinly veiled comments from Christian Horner suggest that Red Bull are stewing in their own paranoia potage right now and the prospect of protests flying about will revive comparisons with the 1976 season though it will thrill no one but the lawyers.
Nerves are starting to fray a little as we approach the championship end game but through it all, Hamilton was sublime.
He didn’t put a wheel wrong throughout what must have been a hugely challenging weekend, only his sarcastic comment in response to the news that Max Verstappen would not be censured for his robust late-race defence betraying the burning sense of outrage which helped propel him to success.
As for the rights or wrongs of that incident, well that kind of driving and a lot more was routine once upon a time but the drivers are judged by different standards these days and a full review of the in-car footage will surely be revealing.
As any Formula Ford driver will tell you, there are some drivers against whom you need to have the overtake completed before you get to the braking zone and going round the outside is a perilous game.
Repeated interventions from race stewards is a real bugbear but the gut feeling is that Verstappen took Hamilton for a walk all the way to the edge of the track and beyond. Given the way the rules are applied these days, to escape without censure will surely be a relief for the Dutchman.
Either way, it will be interesting to see if Hamilton modifies the way he races wheel to wheel with Verstappen in the coming races. He’s the one chasing and he needs to maximise every points scoring opportunity with just three races left.
Car advantage or no, the manner in which Hamilton overtook 15 cars on Saturday and another seven on Sunday was yet another demonstration of his greatness and revived memories of his stunning performances in GP2 and, as he himself reminded us afterwards, in F3 at the outset of his career.
Fernando Alonso on Saturday evening made much of Hamilton’s drive through the pack and suggested that further tweaking of the format might be a good idea. Reverse grid qualifying races would certainly get my vote.
So, the season will conclude with a tripleheader in the Middle East starting with a first appearance of the Losail circuit near Doha next week. Hamilton’s first win in four races has breathed new life into this fascinating battle which increasingly looks like it will rage all the way to the final race.