Mercedes Petronas F1 team had a disappointing qualifying at the Imola Grand Prix. Both their drivers failed to qualify in Q3, marking the first time the Silver Arrows failed to enter Q3 with either car since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton finished 13th while George Russell ended at the 11th spot for the sprint race.
The seven-time World Champion reacted to his below-par qualification and talked about how the team has worked immensely hard but couldn’t get the results. Hamilton secured a 1 minute 20.470s timing in Q1 and then followed it by a 1minute 21.138s in Q2.
He said, “It wasn’t a great session. Yes, naturally it’s disappointing. We come here with optimism, and you know 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.”
"Each weekend’s a rescue," Hamilton
Hamilton then spoke on how he and the team failed to capitalize on certain opportunities and hopes that they can make a positive impact in the Sprint race. “There are things that we should have done that we didn’t do and yes, anyway, we’ll work as hard as we can to move up in the Sprint… It’s going to be a difficult race but hopefully, tomorrow’s better weather-wise and who knows? Maybe we can move our way forwards. We’ll just keep working hard… Each weekend’s a rescue,” he added.
The 36-year-old also talked about his heated conversation with Team Principal Toto Wolff at the end of qualifying. He said, “That’s all internal stuff. I don’t want to share that, but we’ll just keep working. It is what it is.”
Mercedes’ second driver, George Russell talked about his struggles in the rain at Imola. He talked about the issues faced regarding the tyre temperature.
“We always struggled a little bit to get the temperature in the tyre and were always seemingly taking a bigger jump in the second lap, and we saw it in Australia as well when compared to the Alpines and the McLarens, they were first-lap qualifiers; we had to do it on the third lap or even the fifth lap doing the fast-slow-fast consecutive sequence”, Russell said.
He also addressed the several red flags that were issued throughout qualification. “It was a bit of shame with how the red flags panned out today, but obviously if there is a weekend to not be where we want to be, Sprint weekend is the one to do it. So, it’s not ideal,” Russell added.
The 24-year-old secured a timing of 1 minute and 20.383s in the first qualifying. Then he registered a timing of 1 minute and 20.757s in the second qualifying.