Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff described his car as “undrivable” and said Lewis hamilton “deserves more from us” after the seven-time world champion only managed to finish 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Wolff apologized to Hamilton on team radio at the end of the race.
Teammate George Russell managed to finish fourth after an excellent start.
Hamilton said it was a “weekend to forget” and that he “just wasn’t fast enough to overtake” at Imola.
To add insult to injury, he was defeated by race winner Max Verstappen at Red Bull.
He also reiterated that he is no longer fighting for the drivers’ title, saying: “I’m out of the championship for sure. There’s no doubt about it.”
Hamilton said the only bonus for the team was fellow Brit Russell climbing up the field after starting 11th – although he apologized for not making it to the points as well.
“Everyone is feeling it and everyone is with their heads down, trying their best,” he added. “There is no one who is giving up and everyone is just trying to move forward as fast as they can.”
Formula 1 heads to the United States for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix from May 6-8.
Mercedes dominated the constructors’ championship in the turbo-hybrid era and secured an unprecedented eighth consecutive title in 2021.
But this season’s regulation changes have not worked in their favor, with both cars experiencing serious ‘porpoising’, a phenomenon caused by an increase – then a sudden decrease – of downforce.
“You see the jump on the main straight, I wonder how the two of them manage to keep the car on track sometimes,” Wolff said.
“Both drivers are doing their best and outperforming the car. We saw this reaping results for George, who had an excellent race – a perfect start and then handling a car that wasn’t set up optimally.
“And Lewis was stuck in the back.”
The weekend started poorly for Hamilton as he was knocked out in Q2 during Friday’s qualifying session, having to settle for 13th on the grid for the first sprint event of the season.
He then lost a place during Saturday’s 21-lap race, leaving it lower in the order for Sunday’s GP.
When Hamilton crossed the line after getting stuck behind a train of slower cars, Wolff told him, “Sorry about what you had to drive today. I know it was impossible. This was a terrible race. Let’s get out of this.”
The Mercedes team principal also acknowledged in his post-race interview that Hamilton and Russell’s talent did not deserve their current situation.
He said: “We have two of the top three drivers and they deserve a car and a power unit that allows them to fight at the front instead of being beaten. That’s not what any of them deserve.”
Russell has fared better at Mercedes so far this season, finishing in the top five in each of the first four races, including a podium in the Australian Grand Prix. He is 21 points ahead of Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.
“In terms of results, we’re making the most of it,” Russell said. “This gives me and the team confidence that when the car improves we will get more points on the frame.
“But we can’t sustain this level of results if we don’t improve the pace of the car.”
The 24-year-old former Williams driver, who replaced Valtteri Bottas at the Silver Arrows in 2022, said he and Hamilton were “equally struggling” with their cars.
He added: “I hope [Hamilton] come back so strong and the way he is pushing and motivating the team is inspiring. I’m not comfortable in this position because I know what he’s capable of.”