Lewis Hamilton’s season took one other horrible flip for the more severe the day after he revealed he had given up chasing the world title.
Mercedes group boss Toto Wolff made a unprecedented public apology to a crestfallen Lewis Hamilton, describing his automotive as “undriveable” and unworthy for a world champion.
Wolff spoke on group radio after which to reporters after a horrible day for Hamilton, who completed the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in a lowly thirteenth whereas Mercedes teammate George Russell was fourth.
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Including insult to damage, Hamilton was lapped by his current nemesis world champion Max Verstappen.
Verstappen gained the race forward of Purple Bull teammate Sergio Perez to trim Charles Leclerc’s lead within the title race to 27 factors, with Lando Norris ending third for McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo had a day to neglect, crossing the road 18th after ruining his personal grand prix and Carlos Sainz’s race by crashing into the Ferrari driver on the opening lap.
Russell, 24, competing in the identical troublesome “porpoising” and under-performing Mercedes automotive because the 37-year-old seven-time champion has now crushed Hamilton in every of the final three races.
“We are not good enough for a world champion — and we just need to fix the car,” mentioned Wolff.
On group radio, he apologised to Hamilton as quickly because the race ended.
“I am sorry for what you had to drive today. I know it was undriveable. This was a terrible race,” Wolff mentioned.
Hamilton, who has already given up profitable this 12 months’s world title, responded: “No worries, Toto. Just keep working hard.”
Hamilton’s most humbling second within the race got here when he was lapped by Verstappen, who loved a simple go for the race-leading Purple Bull.
The outcome was one among Hamilton’s worst since he joined Mercedes. His solely earlier pointless end got here eventually 12 months’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix the place he was fifteenth.
His earlier worst run of outcomes got here in 2009 when he struggled in an uncompetitive McLaren and registered his worst end of 18th on the German Grand Prix.
Hamilton was at a loss to clarify what was going so unsuitable.
“It’s been difficult, but I don’t really know what to say,” he mentioned. “It’s definitely not easy and we all feel it as a team. At least George got some points so my apologies to everyone (that) I wasn’t able to do the same.
“I just wasn’t fast enough to overtake and I don’t really know why. I just wasn’t moving forwards. I was just a bit of a sitting duck.”
Hamilton mentioned he had skilled worse occasions in his profession.
“I’ve definitely had lower moments so it’s not the lowest, for sure,” he mentioned. “Everyone’s feeling it and everyone’s just head down trying their best. There’s no one that’s giving up and everyone’s just trying to move it forward as fast as they can.”
Mercedes are actually third within the constructors’ standings with Russell having contributed 49 of their 77 factors.
“Lewis is going to come back incredibly strong, I have no doubt,” mentioned Russell. “He’s definitely going to be pushing me all the way.
“I think it’s just how things fall out sometimes in a race weekend. I made a very strong start — I don’t know what happened to him at the start.
“But I expect him to come back so strong. The way he is pushing and motivating the team is inspiring. I’m not getting comfortable with this position, because I know what he’s capable of.”