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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes not fighting for F1 World Championship after Emilia-Romagna Sprint GP struggle

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Lewis Hamilton says ‘we’re sticking together and trying to motivate everyone’ after finishing 14th in Sprint at Emilia-Romagna GP

Lewis Hamilton says ‘we’re sticking together and trying to motivate everyone’ after finishing 14th in Sprint at Emilia-Romagna GP

Lewis Hamilton has ruled Mercedes out of the World Championship title fight just four races into the 2022 Formula 1 season after a disappointing Emilia-Romagna Sprint Grand Prix.

After starting the 21-lap race in 13th at Imola, the seven-time world champion lost two places on a spectacular first lap and could only regain one to climb to 14th place before the checkered flag is waved.

Things weren’t much better for team-mate George Russell, who failed to improve from his starting position to 11th, meaning the Mercedes pair must start from the front and second rows only Ferrari and Red Bull locked down, after Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc late in the Sprint to secure pole position for Sunday’s race.

Saturday’s performance was just a continuation of the disappointing form the eight-time defending constructors’ champions showed to start the season, with their serious “porpoising” issues on the W13 preventing them from competing at the front of the grid.

“A lot of work is done in the background and that’s what it is, that’s what we have,” Hamilton said. “We haven’t been successful this year, but everyone is working as hard as they can to fix it.

Max Verstappen manages an incredible overtake on Charles Leclerc to earn the victory in the Sprint

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Max Verstappen manages an incredible overtake on Charles Leclerc to earn the victory in the Sprint

Max Verstappen manages an incredible overtake on Charles Leclerc to earn the victory in the Sprint

“That’s the situation we’re facing and obviously we’re not fighting for the championship but we’re fighting to understand this car and improve and improve throughout the year. That’s all we can. hope for now.”

Hamilton, who said on Friday that every weekend this season has been “salvage work” for Mercedes, insists the team has the experience to overcome its problems.

He added: “The team has been through many, many bad years because most of the people I work with have been here for over 20 years.

“2013 wasn’t the best of years, but we’ve had some great years since then and we’re sticking together and trying to keep everyone motivated.”

Hamilton cut a frustrated figure after missing the third quarter on Friday

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Hamilton cut a frustrated figure after missing the third quarter on Friday

Hamilton cut a frustrated figure after missing the third quarter on Friday

Russell: We don’t have the straight line speed to overtake

While not as crestfallen as Hamilton, Russell was also quick to say how disappointing an Imola weekend has been so far.

Mercedes entered the Sprint after a strong practice two session in which Russell topped the timesheet, but those laps proved irrelevant as the Silver Arrows lacked the straight-line speed to take advantage of the lone DRS zone on a track that is difficult to pass. .

George Russell looks back on a tough sprint for Mercedes at Imola

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George Russell looks back on a tough sprint for Mercedes at Imola

George Russell looks back on a tough sprint for Mercedes at Imola

“It’s tricky in these Sprint races, I don’t know what the rest of the race was like, but it was processional from where we were,” Russell said.

“The race just isn’t long enough for the tires to degrade and there to be big differences between the drivers and the cars.

“We have some work to do. The car is faster, but we just don’t have the speed on the straight to really move forward. Here you have the little creases on the straight and there’s only ‘a single opportunity to overtake therefore which stopped our progress.

Despite the rough start to the weekend, Russell hasn’t gone as far as Hamilton to eliminate the Mercedes team for the rest of the season and believes they will continue to capitalize when given the opportunity.

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“Strategy is going to be key. We are going to have to do something different in our competition and that will give us the opportunity to fight and move up the grid,” added Russell.

“We will understand a little more tonight and it will be tricky.

“It’s clearly been a tough weekend for us; we probably got past the first three races and this weekend we’re a bit behind where we deserve to be.

“We’ll just try to get things under control and capitalize where possible.”

You can follow all the action from the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday live from 12.30pm on Sky Sports F1.

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