Lewis Hamilton suffered the humiliation of being lapped by Max Verstappen at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix before finishing 14th as his early season struggles continue
His jibe came after a tough weekend for the seven-time world champion at Imola which was compounded by him being lapped by race winner Max Verstappen. Hamilton would eventually finish 14th, failing to make an impression from his start place on the grid.
Prior to that, he had exited in Q2 on Friday, and then endured a disappointing Saturday Sprint Race. His latest poor showing leaves him on just 28 championship points after four races, leading him to already rule out a title challenge.
It’s a far cry from the 2021 campaign, where he and Verstappen became embroiled in a thrilling battle for the title that went to the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi. There, Hamilton seemed destined for an eighth crown as he led his rival comfortably in the closing stages.
Then however, came the dubious safety car procedure which ultimately gifted Verstappen the chance to overtake the British driver on the final lap. Despite the apparent discrepancies in the way race director Michael Masi altered his orders late on, the result stood and the Dutchman was declared champion.
There will be no such duel this time around though, and Verstappen himself was dismissive after lapping Hamilton, frankly saying afterwards: “Mercedes has been slow all year, so for me it’s not anything exciting, it just happens.”
Sky Sports F1)
Marko, who also oversees the Red Bull development programme, went a step further when asked what he thought would be going through Hamilton’s mind, telling Sky Sports : “I mean he was lapped by us. Maybe he should’ve stopped last year.”
The apparent ignorant jibe didn’t go down well with F1 fans though, who responded when Sky shared the video clip via their instagram account: “The biggest clown of them all,” wrote @toniakats17. “So embarrassing.”
redfivestandingby77 added: “There’s only one person that needs to retire now, Marko! #ironic.” Malhao_pedro suggested the response proved Red Bull were obsessed by the current constructors’ champions.
“Aren’t they winning and fighting for the title?!” he wrote. “Isn’t that enough?! They prefer a Mercedes loss than their own wins. It’s just classless, they don’t know how to win.”
Hamilton meanwhile, received a radio apology from team boss Toto Wolff after crossing the line. The Austrian described his W13 car as “undriveable.”
The Silver Arrows now have a fortnight to sort things out ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. Hamilton himself has implied that minor “progress” is the best he can hope for over the remainder of the season.