Hamilton frustrated by Mercedes underperformance at Imola

Andy Hone/Motorsport Images

Hamilton frustrated by Mercedes underperformance at Imola

Formula 1

Hamilton frustrated by Mercedes underperformance at Imola

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes underperformed during qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, but won’t reveal the details of a tense exchange he had with Toto Wolff.

Both Hamilton and teammate George Russell were eliminated in Q2 at Imola after scraping through the first part of qualifying, although there was an element of misfortune as Carlos Sainz’s crash resulted in the session being red-flagged and rain then fall to prevent anyone from making improvements. Hamilton is set to start 13th, and believes Mercedes didn’t maximize its opportunities on Friday.

“It wasn’t a great session,” Hamilton said. “Naturally, it is disappointing. We came here with optimism, everyone us working hard at the factory and then things don’t come together… It is disappointing.

“I think we underperformed as a team today. There are things that we should have done that we didn’t do. But anyways, we’ll work as hard as we can to move up in the sprint race – it is going to be a difficult race, but hopefully tomorrow is better weather-wise and who knows, maybe we can move our way forwards.”

Hamilton was seen speaking to Wolff in the Mercedes garage after climbing out of his car, with the team principal looking particularly frustrated, but the seven-time world champion refused to talk about the discussion.

“That is all internal stuff, so I’d rather not share that,” he said. “But we will just keep working. It is what it is. We’ll just keep working hard. Each weekend is a rescue.”

Russell will start two places ahead of Hamilton in 11th and says the team was unfortunate with the way qualifying was hit by so many red flags, but is targeting progress in the Sprint on Saturday.

“We’ve always struggled a little bit to get the temperature into the tire and we’re always seemingly taking a bigger jump on the second lap,” he said. “We saw that in Australia as well when we compared to the Alpines and the McLarens, they were first-lap qualifier and we had to do it on the third lap or even the first lap – doing the fast-slow-fast consecutive sequence.

“So it was a bit of a shame with how the red flags panned out today, but obviously if there is a weekend to not be where we want to be, a Sprint weekend is the one to do it. So not ideal, but we’ve got a chance to recover those positions tomorrow.”

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