Lewis Hamilton sinks to new low in 'embarrassing' F1 drama

Mercedes F1 champion Lewis Hamilton endured a shocking weekend at the Emiglia Romagna GP at Imola. (Photo by Alessio Morgese/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Mercedes F1 champion Lewis Hamilton endured a shocking weekend at the Emiglia Romagna GP at Imola. (Photo by Alessio Morgese/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Seven time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton's 2022 season went from bad to worse at the Emiglia Romagna GP on Sunday evening, dishing up a performance that left a lot to be desired.

Hamilton finished a lowly 14th after a disastrous race in comparison to new teammate George Russell, who finished an impressive fourth for Mercedes.

'SHOULDN'T HAPPEN': Daniel Ricciardo ripped over 'embarrassing' act

'NOT TRUE': F1 figure shuts down Monaco Grand Prix rumours

The team is clearly still struggling to set Hamilton's car up in a way the seven-time world champion can take advantage of, as once again this season key rivals Red Bull and Ferrari looked the superior machines.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted as much after the race, which Red Bull's Max Verstappen won by a wide margin.

Despite the impressive showing from Russell, Wolff said it was clear his team had not delivered a car fit for a seven-time world champion.

"We are not good enough for a world champion, we just need to fix the car," Wolff admitted in interviews, having conceded elsewhere that Hamilton's car had been 'undriveable' in Imola.

Lapped by Verstappen on lap 43, Hamilton also took a dim view of his prospects in 2022 after just the fourth race of the season.

"I'm out of the championship, for sure," Hamilton said.

"There's no question about that, but I'll still keep working as hard as I can and try to pull it back together somehow."

Russell was an impressive fourth for Mercedes, gaining seven places from his grid position, but complained his car's 'porpoising' problem had made it a tough afternoon.

His performance didn't go unnoticed by fans, who were desperate for Mercedes to figure out the complex aerodynamic issues which had compromised their season to date.

Red Bull on top in tricky F1 conditions at Imola

Mexican Sergio Perez finished 16.527 seconds behind the Dutch driver on Sunday, with Lando Norris repeating last year's third place at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to claim McLaren's first podium of the season.

Championship leader Leclerc, winner of two of the first three races, fought back to sixth place after a late spin on a drying track while running in third.

But his teammate Carlos Sainz saw his race end in the gravel after an opening lap collision with McLaren's Australian star Daniel Ricciardo, who ended up apologising to the Spaniard.

Verstappen, who took the maximum eight points on Saturday for winning a sprint race from pole, also took a bonus point on Sunday for the fastest lap and is now 27 points adrift of Leclerc.

"That was a very lovely Sunday," the 24-year-old said over the team radio after leading from start to finish for his second win of a season in which he has also suffered two retirements.

Ferrari's lead over Red Bull in the constructors standings was slashed to 11 points.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez brought home a one-two finish for Red Bull at the F1 Emiglia Romagna GP. (Photo by Alex Pantling - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez brought home a one-two finish for Red Bull at the F1 Emiglia Romagna GP. (Photo by Alex Pantling - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

The safety car was quickly deployed as Sainz, spun around and facing Ricciardo, was left stranded in the gravel.

The Australian was first to pit on lap 17, swapping intermediate tyres for mediums in a move soon followed by the others as the track began to dry after earlier rain, but Ricciardo ended up 18th and last among the finishers.

On lap 54 the red-shirted fans thronging the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit let out a collective groan as Leclerc, chasing Perez, spun into the tyre wall at the Variante Alta.

The Monegasque returned to the track, pitted for fresh tyres and a new front wing and resumed in eighth place.

"I was too greedy and I paid the price for it and lost seven potential points," he shrugged.

With AAP

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.