Lewis Hamilton on worst F1 run for nine years after ‘weekend to forget’ at Imola GP

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton’s disastrous performance at last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix marked a nine-year low in the 37-year-old’s glittering Formula One career. Hamilton could only register a 13th-placed finish at the end of the 63-lap contest after getting stuck in a DRS train behind Pierre Gasly in the lower midfield during the closing stages of the race.

The result saw Hamilton slip even further behind the likes of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in this year’s battle for F1 supremacy after failing to score a single point at the historic Imola circuit. It also marked the first time since 2013 that Hamilton has missed out on a podium finish for three straight races, with the seven-time champion also having fallen short in Saudi Arabia and Australia earlier this season.

The man from Stevenage now looks to be out of contention for a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship triumph, with Mercedes also set to be denied a ninth successive Constructors’ Championship title as a result of their shocking early form. The Silver Arrows have only managed to get on the podium on two occasions over the course of this season, with Hamilton’s third-placed finish in Bahrain having been followed up by George Russell’s impressive effort on the streets of Melbourne earlier this month.

Hamilton has also struggled to keep up with his new Mercedes team-mate for the vast majority of the campaign and faces the threat of being forced to play second fiddle unless he can put things right over the coming weeks and months. He wrote off his chances of securing Drivers’ Championship glory after his latest nightmare at Imola by insisting that he is too far behind to mount a realistic challenge between now and the end of the year.

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“It’s been difficult, but I don’t really know what to say, it’s definitely not easy,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 when quizzed on what went wrong at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

“At least George got some points today so my apologies to everyone that I wasn’t able to do the same. I am out of the championship, and there’s no question about that. It has been a weekend to forget.”

Hamilton will be desperate to produce an improved showing at the next available opportunity when F1 travels to the streets of Miami for the very first time next month. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has already suggested that the Silver Arrows could squeeze some extra performance out of their W13 car by going over the finer details at their Brackley headquarters over the next two weeks.

“We very much believe that the science we are putting in at the moment will help us to, in effect, run the car lower,” Wolff told Motorsport.com. “It is where we believe we have all the aerodynamic goodness, but we haven’t been able to unlock it because of the bottoming of the car.

“If we are able to get on top of that, that means there’s quite some lap time we can find. If not, we need to have another idea.”


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