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Hamilton concedes he’s ‘out of the championship’ fight after tough run to P13 at Imola

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IMOLA, ITALY - APRIL 24: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes wipes his face on the grid

A disconsolate Lewis Hamilton reckons he is “out of the championship” fight after an underwhelming drive to 13th in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.

The seven-time world champion spent most of the race trapped behind the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, while also suffering the ignominy of being lapped by race winner Max Verstappen, who pipped Hamilton to the title last year.

READ MORE: Verstappen leads Red Bull 1-2 as Ferrari falter in action-packed Imola race

“I’m out of the championship, for sure,” said the Mercedes driver. “There is no question about that. But I’ll still keep working as hard as I can, to try and pull it back together somehow.”

When asked if the result could have been better had he pitted earlier for dry weather tyres, Hamilton replied: “I really don’t know to be honest. I don’t think it would have made much of a difference to be honest. A weekend to forget for sure.”

2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Hamilton and Ocon make contact in pits

On the radio after the race, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: “Sorry for what you have had to drive today. I know this is undrivable and not what we deserve to score the result. We move from there, but this was a terrible race."

Hamilton’s team mate George Russell, meanwhile, finished an impressive fourth, becoming the only driver to finish in the top five in every race so far this season, but was more than 40 seconds adrift of Verstappen at the flag.

“We all feel it as a team,” added Hamilton, who also made contact with Alpine driver Esteban Ocon in the pits on Sunday. “At least George got some points for the team today. My apologies to everyone that I wasn’t able to do the same.

READ MORE: ‘I was too greedy’ – Leclerc laments error that cost him Emilia Romagna podium to cap tough day for Ferrari

“Everyone’s just head down trying their best, there’s no one that’s giving up, everyone is trying to move forward as fast as they can. [I was] just bit of a sitting duck today.”

Looking ahead to the next race in Miami, which is hosting a Grand Prix for the first time, Hamilton admitted he isn’t “particularly looking forward to it at the moment”. But added: “I’m sure in the week I’ll get to a positive frame of mind. I will be at the factory tomorrow to see what we can improve.”

logo 2022Drivers' standings post-Imola

PositionTeam NamePoints
1 Leclerc86
2 Verstappen59
3 Perez54
4 Russell49
5 Sainz38
6 Norris35
7 Hamilton28
8 Bottas24
9 Ocon20
10 Magnussen15

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