The world champion was in the lead of the race at Sepang, trying to build a gap over the Red Bull drivers behind to allow him to make another pitstop.
His engine then failed without warning on the start/finish straight, with flames coming from the back of the Mercedes as Hamilton parked up at Turn 1, losing crucial ground in the world championship battle with team-mate Nico Rosberg, who finished third.
"I just can't believe that there's eight Mercedes cars [on the grid] and only my engines have been the ones that have been going this year," Hamilton told TV crews after the race.
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"Something just doesn't feel right but there's nothing I can do about it.
"It's just odd. There's been 43 engines from Mercedes and only mine have gone."
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) de retour aux stands après son abandon lors du Grand Prix de Malaisie
Image credit: AFP
Hamilton said he had not turned the engine up while pushing out front, and he has no idea if reliability will be good enough to fight back in the title race.
"I've just got to move on," he said. "We did everything we could this weekend, I did everything I could.
"It's a brand new engine, I've done one race with it.
"These next five races I know we've got it in us [to win the title], me, my engineers, my mechanics.
"But who knows what those next engines I have are going to do.
"Right now, I don't even know if my car is going to make it.
"I'm just going to keep my head down and hope for the best."
Lewis Hamilton walks away after his engine catches fire at the Malaysian Grand Prix
Image credit: Reuters
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe said there have been no signs this year explaining why Hamilton has suffered so many failures.
"It's difficult, this can be a very harsh sport but no failure is planned," said Lowe.
"We work as hard as we can to increase reliability and, in fact, we have year on year increased reliability.
"But for some reason, which is completely unrelated to any intention or any individual performance a number of things have fallen on Lewis's car this year.
"Far more than any other car. We have eight Mercedes power units in the pitlane.
"For some reason, which honestly we have investigated, there is no pattern that would link that to why it should fall on Lewis's car.
"That's how things sometimes turn."
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