Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate George Russell know that even points in what is expected to be a difficult race in Italy could be too much for the Silver Arrows
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Shortly after the start of the Grand Prix weekend in Italy on Friday, the problems for the Silver Arrows began. After a practice session that was nothing special, Qualifying was a disaster with both cars outside the top 10.
Sprint race on Saturday provided an opportunity for Hamilton and George Russell improve their starting position for the Main Event, but they didn’t make it. Instead, Russell stayed in 11th place, while Hamilton slipped down another place and will start 14th on the grid.
Wolff admitted this weekend marks a new ‘low’ for the team this year, even after three more difficult races in which Mercedes struggled for pace and stability. “I think points have to be the minimum but that’s not where we set our expectations and that’s why this weekend is a complete write-off,” he said.
“You can say we’re trying to learn, but we weren’t that great at warming up the tires so there’s not a lot that we’re really good at [do]. There are no miracles you can expect at the start of the race.
“And because overtaking is so difficult – we can make up positions, we showed that on Saturday – but not fast enough and therefore beyond the fact that we’re learning, it’s another humbling experience.”
This negative but realistic assessment of the situation resonates what Hamilton said after getting out of his car at the end of a sprint race to forget. Not only has he dashed hopes of a win in Emilia Romagna, but any chance of fighting for an unprecedented eighth world title in 2022.
XPB images/PA images)
“We stick together, we try to motivate everyone,” he said. “That is the situation we are facing but everyone has their heads down, everyone is working as hard as they can. We’re not fighting for this championship, of course, but we’re fighting to understand the car and to improve and progress throughout the year. That’s all we can hope for at the moment.
Perhaps being a little more optimistic, Russell opted instead to talk about Grand Prix opportunities this weekend. “It’s tricky in these sprint races. It felt like a procession from our position. We still have a lot to do,” admitted the young Briton.
“Strategy will be crucial tomorrow and we have to do something different than others and give ourselves the opportunity to fight and get up the grid. It’s been a difficult weekend for us.”
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