F1 fans were left stunned as Max Verstappen lapped Lewis Hamilton during the Imola GP. The Mercedes driver endured yet another disappointing weekend as he began the race in P14 and was unable to make a significant improvement throughout, as he finished 13th.
The Brit was unable to extract any serious pace from his car and spent what felt like an eternity trying to pass Pierre Gasly, ultimately unsuccessfully. To add insult to injury, on lap 41, his great rival of last year sprinted past to lap him for the first time since the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix.
Viewers couldn’t believe their eyes and used the opportunity to troll the seven-time world champion on Twitter. “Max Verstappen laps Lewis Hamilton just 5 races after they battled for a championship, hahaha,” one fan wrote.
“Max Verstappen laps Lewis Hamilton like he is driving a toy car,” another penned. “Hahahaha the "human error" laps Lewis, oh I'm loving this,” another user chuckled, while another laughed: “@Max33Verstappen laps @LewisHamilton… you couldn’t make this up.”
Post-race, a deflated Hamilton commented on one of the worst race weekends of his phenomenal career and conceded any hopes of winning the championship this year. “It’s been difficult, but I don’t really know what to say,” said the deflated 37-year-old. “It’s definitely not easy.
“I am out of the championship, and there’s no question about that. It has been a weekend to forget. Everyone is feeling it and everyone is head down, trying their best.
"There's no-one that's giving up and everyone is just trying to move forward as fast as they can." As Hamilton’s woes continued, George Russell was able to bring the car home in P4. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff praised his drivers for their efforts on another challenging weekend, but stressed improvements must be made.
"You see the bouncing on the main straight, I wonder how the two of them can even keep the car on the track at times," said Wolff. "Both drivers are doing the utmost and out-performing the car. We have seen that reaping the results for George, who did an outstanding race – perfect start and then handling a car that wasn't tuned optimally. And Lewis was just stuck in the back."
He added: "We have two of the three best drivers and they deserve a car and a power unit that allows them to fight in the front rather than being lapped. That's not what either of them deserves." F1 will next travel to the United States for the inaugural Miami GP on May 8.
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