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Hamilton: We are in no-man's land

Hamilton: We are in no-man’s land

Hamilton: We are in no-man's land

Mercedes are in ‘no-man’s land’, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton said after finishing Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix sixth and 35 seconds behind Red Bull’s race winner Max Verstappen.

Teammate George Russell came seventh and Mercedes have fallen further behind in the F1 Constructors’ Standings – fourth overall on 79 points while third-placed McLaren, who also use Mercedes engines, have 154.

“We are in no-man’s land. There wasn’t much more for us to get today,” said Hamilton, the sport’s most successful driver of all time who is moving to Ferrari at the end of the season and was racing in Italy for the first time since that was announced.

“It is where we are and we have to do the best we can and that is the best we could do today,” he lamented.

In Mercedes’ race report, Hamilton tried to be more positive, he added: “My race was generally good. I had one moment which cost me about five seconds, but my race pace was generally strong so I’m happy with how it went.

“I made a good start and that was important to get past Tsunoda. From there, I was able to extend my opening stint and that helped me make the one-stop strategy work.

“We’ve taken a small step forward this weekend and we have improved,” he went on. “Unfortunately, that is slightly masked by the step forward others such as McLaren and Ferrari have taken.

“We will keep pushing to bring more updates that can add performance. Until then, we will make sure we are scoring as many points as we can,” he concluded.

Russell echoes Hamilton’s sentiments

Russell also referred to ‘no-man’s land’ but said the once-dominant team were still “super-motivated”, he commented: “We have got to just keep pushing. The car was capable of P6 and P7 and that is where we finished.”

Later in Mercedes’ post-race press release, Russell gave some details on his race, especially a second pitstop late in the race which dropped him behind Hamilton at the chequered flag.

He explained: “We had some concerns over the Hard tyre being able to go to the end so made a second pit stop. Of course that means I lost a position to Lewis, but we were able to score one extra point as a team.

“It was quite a lonely race for us. We’ve slightly closed the gap to Red Bull and extended our advantage over the midfield. However, McLaren and Ferrari have also found similar gains so we are aiming to bring more performance and bigger steps as soon as we can. We’re never going to be satisfied with P6 and P7, but this is where we are at the moment.

“Everyone is super motivated and it’s very inspiring to see,” Russell pointed out. “Everyone at Brackley and Brixworth are working so hard to bring improvements and it’s great to see.

“We’ve got to keep on pushing. This weekend we maximised the package we had, and we will continue to aim to do that moving forward,” the 26-year-old concluded.

Team boss Toto Wolff felt Mercedes had taken a small step forward with the second set of upgrades after Miami, but admitted: “Our closest competitors have also done so recently, but we have closed the gap to the front a little.

“We still have a lot of work to do and, of course, we are all frustrated finishing P6 and P7. There is more to come though, and it is all about making incremental gains,” the Austrian concluded.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Additional reporting by GrandPrix247)