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‘We’re all in pain’ – Lewis Hamilton writes off F1 title hopes after falling to 14th in the Imola sprint race

LEWIS HAMILTON has dashed his hopes of a record eighth world title after falling to 14th in the Imola sprint race.

The Brit is now a whopping 50 points behind championship leader Charles Leclerc, who finished second ahead of Max Verstappen in the 30-minute race.

Lewis Hamilton has written off his chances of an eighth F1 title

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Lewis Hamilton has written off his chances of an eighth F1 titleCredit: PA

Hamilton’s miserable race means he will start Sunday’s GP outside the top 10 for the second time this season while his Mercedes team continue to struggle.

Hamilton said: “It’s difficult for sure, but I’m not the only one on the team. We all feel the pain and we go through this together.

“We do our best with what we have. We’re still a long way from where we want to be, but we’ll keep fighting and hope to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“Of course I want to fight for the world championship, but that’s not the case and we have to face reality.

“I’ve seen a few comments from certain people I respected but their comments are a bunch of nonsense, all aimed at making headlines and making themselves relevant.

“But I stand behind this team 100 per cent, just because we went through a rough patch it’s not in my DNA to walk away.

“We are world champions and we have to endure it whether it’s this year or next year.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was pictured in a heated discussion with his driver but insists he has no qualms Hamilton will quit.

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The 37-year-old, who is involved in talks to buy Chelsea as part of a consortium, still has a contract with the Silver Arrows until the end of 2023.

And Wolff expects to honor that deal and says he’s determined to help the team reverse their poor performance after admitting this week was a “write-off”.

He added: “We shared the frustration of not being able to get a performance out and how annoying that was.

“It was the same point of view and pure anger and there is no blame. Nobody on the team is remotely enjoying the ride at the moment.

“We’ve done it in the past and we need to dig our way out of the hole.”

Hamilton's troubles continued at Imola

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Hamilton’s troubles continued at ImolaPhoto credit: Getty

Today marks the low point of those first four races and it’s obvious we’re nowhere near the battle at the front

Toto WolffMercedes boss

And in more worrying news, Wolff says the Imola sprint marks the team’s lowest point of the season so far as they struggle with their car’s pace.

He said: “Today is the bottom of those first four races and it’s obvious we’re nowhere near fighting at the front.

“It would be completely unrealistic to be up front in the fight for the championship.

“We have to acknowledge that we’re more frustrated than painting an optimistic picture, and that’s no easy feat.

“We have a direction where we know we can unlock the potential in the car that would bring us closer, but right now we don’t have the key.

“We need to look at the possibilities right away but I don’t see any change in the passion to sort this out and get back in the game and win championships.

“The score has to be the minimum [in the race]but we didn’t set our expectations and that’s why this weekend is a flop.”

Verstappen will start Sunday’s race on pole after passing Leclerc on the final lap of the 30-minute race, which F1 introduced to spice up the action.

But apart from overtaking the Dutchman on the last lap with DRS, it was an otherwise boring half hour.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5188965/lewis-hamilton-formula-one-f1-imola/ ‘We’re all in pain’ – Lewis Hamilton writes off F1 title hopes after falling to 14th in the Imola sprint race

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