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Hamilton writes off title hopes after new low at Imola

Hamilton writes off title hopes after new low at Imola

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action during the sprint race of the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy, on Apr 23, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Jennifer Lorenzini)

IMOLA, Italy: Lewis Hamilton wrote off his hopes of winning a record eighth Formula 1 championship this year after falling 50 points adrift of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at Imola on Saturday (Apr 23).

"We're obviously not fighting for this championship," the Briton told Sky Sports television after finishing 14th in a Saturday sprint that set the starting grid for Sunday's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

"But we're fighting to understand the car and improve and progress through the year," he added. "That's all we can hope for right now."

Mercedes have won the last eight constructors' titles but failed on Friday to get a car through to the final phase of qualifying for the first time since 2012.

Hamilton said that a lot of work was going on to fix the car's problems, but "it is what it is".

"Ultimately we haven't got it right this year, but everyone's working as hard as they can to correct it."

Leclerc has won two of the season's first three races, taken three bonus points for fastest laps and finished second, behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen, in the Imola sprint which earned him a further seven points.

The Monegasque driver is now 40 points clear of closest challenger and team-mate Carlos Sainz, with every chance of extending that further on Sunday.

Source: Reuters/kg

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