Lewis Hamilton was clearly disappointed with his continued struggles in a misfiring Mercedes car and described each race as ‘a rescue.’
The team arrived at Imola with hopes that upgrades to the vehicle would make some difference, but before the action had started, the seven-time world champion had admitted that there was no fundamental overhaul to the car.
That was borne out by Hamilton’s struggles in free practice one, when he was the 18th fastest, and qualifying was just as disappointing.
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Hamilton failed to get out of Q2 when Carlos Sainz careered into a wall and allowed the rain to disrupt the chances of various stragglers, the Mercedes man included, and ultimately took 13th place.
While new teammate George Russell did better, he only managed 11th place and it seems unlikely that either of the drivers will challenge for top spot in Saturday’s sprint, which will also decide the grid position for Sunday’s full race.
The German team have struggled with porpoising and pace since the start of the season, and they were again well off the pace.
Speaking to Sky Sports after his exit, he said: "It wasn't a great session. Came here with optimism and everyone is working hard at the factory but it is disappointing.
"I think we underperformed as a team today. There are things we should have done but we didn't. We will work as hard as we can to move up in the sprint race.
"We will just keep working. It is what it is. Each weekend is a rescue."
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