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Formula 1

‘Each weekend’s a rescue’ – Hamilton after double Q2 knockout

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Lewis Hamilton says “each weekend’s a rescue” in Mercedes’ 2022 Formula 1 season, after it “underperformed as a team” and suffered a double knockout in Q2 at Imola.

Mercedes failed to get a car through to the top 10 shootout in qualifying for the first time in the V6 turbo-hybrid era.

It continues the struggles that have plagued the team that has won eight consecutive world championships at the start of 2022, with a car that is off the pace as Mercedes battles an extreme porpoising problem.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Qualifying Day Imola, Italy

That appears even worse than before at Imola, with team boss Toto Wolff saying after practice that his drivers were having to lift on the straights as a result and that George Russell’s car suffered a broken floor stay.

With the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix the first sprint race weekend of the season, teams only had one practice session before qualifying on Friday and it was clear Mercedes was struggling in the wet conditions.

In qualifying itself, which was dry, Mercedes only just got both cars through Q1 after initially sending them out on intermediates while others spent the whole session on slicks.

Russell and Lewis Hamilton were only 11th and 13th on the first runs in Q2 before Carlos Sainz crashed and caused a red flag, then rain fell during the suspension which meant the conditions were too bad for anyone to improve when the session resumed.

Hamilton said: “It wasn’t a great session. Naturally it’s disappointing.

“Come here with optimism, everyone’s working really hard at the factory, and things just don’t come together. It’s disappointing.

“I think we underperformed as a team today. There are things we should have done that we didn’t do.

“We’ll work as hard as we can to move up in the sprint race.

“It’s going to be a difficult race but hopefully tomorrow is better weather wise and who knows, maybe we can make our way forward.”

When it was put to Hamilton that he has a chance to rescue the weekend starting with the sprint race on Saturday, which awards points to the top eight and sets the grid for the grand prix, Hamilton replied: “We’ll just keep working hard. Each weekend’s a rescue.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Qualifying Day Imola, Italy

And asked about an exchange with an animated team boss Toto Wolff that was captured on the world television feed at the end of Q2, Hamilton said: “It’s all internal stuff. I’d rather not share that.

“We’ll keep working – it is what it is.”

Team-mate Russell said Mercedes struggled with tyre warm-up and was getting a big jump in lap time on the second attempt, which made the lack of a second push lap in Q2 before the red flag particularly costly.

“We saw that in Australia as well,” said Russell.

“So, it was a bit of a shame with how the red flags panned out today. But if there is a weekend to not be where we want to be, the sprint weekend is the one to do.

“It’s not ideal but we have a chance to recover those positions tomorrow.”

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