Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has insisted Lewis Hamilton will "become a factor" in F1 this season despite his ongoing issues with the Mercedes W13.
The Silver Arrows have been well behind Ferrari and Red Bull so far this season and despite having finished on the podium in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, only two minor placings have followed.
Hamilton's issues were as prevalent as ever at Imola when finishing outside the points and being lapped by arch-rival Max Verstappen as the reigning champion cantered to victory.
Asked if he was astonished by Hamilton's woes, Horner replied: "He obviously had a horrible weekend but he is still an eight-time world champion... seven-time! I forgot Nico Rosberg won.
"He hasn't forgotten how to drive in the last four races so at some point they will sort their issues out and he will become a factor but obviously, the young guys are doing a great job."
Red Bull didn't focus on lapping Hamilton
The blue flags being waved would have added insult to injury for Hamilton knowing the driver he battled for the world championship last year was so far ahead of him on track.
Addressing the moment Verstappen lapped the Mercedes, Horner said: "I think Lewis didn't have a great weekend but we are very much focused on our race and trying to extract the maximum points.
"It was obviously one of those things. At that point, we were looking at the clouds, was the rain going to come in the last part of the race or not, we were more focused on that."