Sir Lewis Hamilton was understandably disappointed after qualifying for the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as both he and George Russell were eliminated from the second qualifying session.
It was the first time since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix that neither Mercedes has been able to reach the third and final qualifying session.
A red flag precluded the drivers from setting another lap before the rain hit in Q1 but, having narrowly escaped Q1, it is unlikely the Silver Arrows would have had the pace to make it into Q3.
It was a sobering day for the team that had been hoping for progress after some auspicious aerodynamic upgrades, and the seven-time world champion was visibly downcast as he faced the media while the other drivers were contesting Q3.
“It wasn’t a great session,” said a dejected Hamilton.
“Naturally it’s disappointing. [We’ve] come here with optimism and you know everyone’s working really hard at the factory and then things just don’t come together, it’s disappointing.
“I think we underperformed as a team today, there are things that we should have done that we didn’t do and… anyway, we’ll work as hard as we can to move up in the sprint race.
“It’s going to be a difficult race but hopefully tomorrow’s better weather-wise and we can move our way forwards.”
As the rain fell after the crash induced by a crash for Carlos Sainz, Mercedes were forced to accept that the track would not be in anywhere near an optimal window, so retired their drivers from the session.
After he had clambered out of the car, Hamilton was seen exchanging some words with team principal Toto Wolff, but he did not wish to divulge exactly what was said.
“It’s all internal stuff so I don’t want to share that but we’ll just keep working,” he said.
“It is what it is, I mean it’s kind of…” he chuckled ruefully.
“We’ll just keep working hard and each weekend’s a rescue,” he added.
Mercedes have the 100km sprint event on Saturday to salvage some points as the top eight all receive points, followed by the grand prix on Sunday, so all is not lost for the eight-time constructors’ champions, but there will be plenty of head-scratching as to their continued lack of pace.