Lewis Hamilton apologised to his Mercedes team after failing to emulate his team-mate and score points at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The result is the first time Hamiton has been unable to score this season after his previous worst result of 10th in Saudi Arabia.
However, George Russell’s fourth-place finish picked up 12 vital championship points for the Silver Arrows as the Mercedes rookie continued his top form. Hamilton lost ground during the stops as Mercedes pitted him a lap later than some of the other midfield runners.
He was stuck at the back of a DRS train all afternoon which made it impossible to pass and get into the points. Meanwhile, Russell jumped up to sixth in the opening stages before passing Kevin Magnussen for fifth.
He then benefited from Charles Leclerc’s spin towards the end of the race to jump up into P4. After the race, Hamilton said: “It’s been difficult, but I don’t really know what to say. It’s definitely not easy and we all feel it as a team.
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“At least George got some points today for the team, so my apologies to everyone I wasn’t able to do the same. I didn’t really find it frustrating, I just wasn’t moving forwards. I don’t really know, I just wasn’t fast enough to overtake.”
“I was just a bit of a sitting duck today.” It’s Russell’s fourth successive top-five finish for the German manufacturer this season and keeps him firmly in the title hunt.
Russell is just 37 points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc meaning he is in the mix if Mercedes find a fix to their problems over the next few races. It means the former Williams star has almost double the number of points as Hamilton who is down in seventh in the standings having scored just 28 points.
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Russell addressed Hamilton’s poor weekend but said he backed the seven-time champion to make a comeback.
He said: “It’s just how things fall out in a race sometimes in a race weekend. I made a very strong start, I don’t know what happened to him at the start.”
He added: “I expect him to come back so strong. The way he’s pushing and motivating the team is inspiring, I’m not getting comfortable in this position because I know what he’s capable of.”