After Friday’s dismal qualifying session, Hamilton was hoping to regain some momentum during the sprint, which in addition to awarding points to the top eight, will determine where the drivers start for Sunday’s main race.
The seven-time world champion, however, was unable to pull his underperforming Mercedes up the order, but instead lost a spot and finished in a poor 14th place.
His teammate George Russell did no better on the Imola circuit, remaining in 11th place, with the W13 car still suffering from the ‘porpoising’ problems that have plagued both drivers since the start of the season.
“We’re obviously not fighting for the championship,” Hamilton told Sky Sports after the sprint.
‘But we struggle to understand the car and improve and develop through the year. That’s all we can hope for now.
‘There’s a lot of work going on in the background, but that’s what it is, that’s what we have. In the end, we have not got it right this year, but everyone is working as hard as they can to turn it around.
– The team has been through many, many bad years. Most of the people I work with have been here for 20 years.
‘We stick together, we try to motivate everyone, and that’s the situation we face, but everyone has their heads down, everyone works as hard as they can.’
After Saturday’s result, Hamilton has fallen back to sixth place after Max Verstappen, while Mercedes has also fallen to third place after Red Bull in the constructors’ table.
F1’s first sprint race of the 2022 season was an exciting affair, with Verstappen finishing only after an excellent late overtaking of championship leader Charles Leclerc from Ferrari, while Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez took third place.
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