Mercedes definitely found Imola qualifying difficult with Lewis Hamilton placing 13th for the sprint race and George Russell coming 11th. Obviously, the 7-time world champion is disappointed with his performance, but it’s fair to say his Mercedes still isn’t performing how he wants it to.
Telling the press that Mercedes “underperformed as a team”, and after a very difficult FP1 in the rain, he expects a difficult weekend to come.
“Today wasn’t a great session and naturally it’s disappointing,” he says.
“We came here with optimism, everyone is working so hard at the factory but things just didn’t come together. I think we underperformed as a team today.
“We’ll work as hard as we can to move up in the Sprint Race.”
Despite the poor performance, it must be said that had Mercedes not been stopped by a red flag during the qualifying, they would likely have jumped up a few places, but the cars are struggling to get heat in their tyres as fast as their competitors, as explained by George Russell:
“We’ve struggled to get the temperature in the tyre in the first few races, we’re always seemingly taking a bigger jump on the second lap.
“We saw that in Australia when we compare to the Alpines and the McLarens; they were a first lap qualifier, and we were on the third or fifth lap doing a fast consecutive sequence.
“It was a bit of a shame with how the red flags panned out today but if there is a weekend to not be where we want to be, a sprint weekend is the one to do it.
“Not ideal, but we’ve got the chance to make up positions tomorrow.”
Lewis isn’t feeling quite as optimistic:
“It’s going to be a difficult race but who knows?
Maybe we can move our way forwards. Each weekend is a rescue at the moment.”