Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff apologised to Sir Lewis Hamilton after a tremendously difficult weekend in Imola as he finished P13 and out of the points.
His team-mate George Russell, meanwhile, finished up in fourth having comprehensively out-performed the seven-time champion for the entirety of the weekend, leading 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg to affirm that Hamilton “has a role to play” in his failure to score points.
Nonetheless, Wolff made an effort to lift the 37-year-old’s spirits after an incredibly tough day at the office.
“Lewis hi, sorry for what you needed to drive, I know this is undrivable and not what we deserve, scores and result. We’ll move from there but this was a terrible race,” he said.
“Yeah, no worries Toto. Let’s keep working hard,” was the reply from the Briton.
Wolff noted that they made a mistake on Russell’s car when transitioning from wet to dry tyres, and considering the subsequent pace deficit, he is delighted with the efforts of his young driver.
“George really drove well considering the car that he had underneath him,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“We missed on adjusting his front flap. That means he had a car that was set up for wet and not for dry and he held on well, really good drive.”
As for Hamilton, he was stuck behind Pierre Gasly for much of the race having been squeezed in the pit lane after an unsafe release of Esteban Ocon by Alpine.
“[It was] really bad, he got squeezed by the Alpine, the other two cars undercut but there is just no overtaking when you are in a DRS train,” Wolff explained.
As for Hamilton’s struggles, Wolff once again shouldered the responsibility for the underperforming car.
“I think we saw with George how the car can drive if we are in free air but we are not good enough for a world champion, not worthy for a world champion, we just need to fix the car,” added the Austrian.
Russell now sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, three positions and 21 points ahead of Hamilton.