Mercedes were shut out of the final phase of Formula One qualifying for the first time since 2012 on Friday and seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton said the failure was a collective one.
“I think we underperformed as a team today,” said the Briton after qualifying 13th for Saturday’s sprint race in a messy session at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with team mate George Russell faring slightly better in 11th.
“There are things that we should have done that we didn’t do,” he added.
Hamilton said Mercedes had arrived with optimism, and recognised the hard work being done back at the factory, but “things just don’t come together”.
“We will work as hard as we can to move up in the sprint race, it is going to be hard, but maybe the weather will improve and we can do better,” he added after a rain-hit session punctuated by crashes and red-flags.
“Each weekend is a rescue.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the car, which has suffered ‘porpoising’ since the start of the season, was bouncing worse than ever at speed on the straight.
“You can’t drive, you have to lift on the straight,” the Austrian had said after the day’s sole free practice session. “I have never experienced in my life bouncing like this, but clearly it’s not driveable.”
Hamilton is fifth overall in the championship, 43 points behind Ferrari’s leader Charles Leclerc, and his hopes of a record eighth title receding with every race even if he has not given up hope.
“There’s still time for us to turn this around, still time for us to fix this car and extract the full potential and that’s what I know all the team are working flat out to try to achieve,” he had said earlier on Friday.
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