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Hamilton set for new F1 low as Mercedes struggles continue

Hamilton set for new F1 low as Mercedes struggles continue

Hamilton set for new F1 low as Mercedes struggles continue

Hamilton set for new F1 low as Mercedes struggles continue

In the context of Lewis Hamilton's Formula 1 season, the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was one of his highlights.

Not that a season-high (along with Miami) sixth place finish is going to have the seven-time champion celebrating long into the night but it's just where Mercedes are at right now.

READ MORE: Haas racing team on brink of COLLAPSE after 'eight-figure' losses

Mercedes believe the car's new upgrades will take a few weeks to have a real noticeable effect and was something that was a feature last year after performance gains introduced at Monaco were not really noticeable until a few races after.

If they have to wait until after the dance around Monte Carlo again though, then Hamilton is in real danger of setting the worst run of his entire F1 career.

The race at Imola was his tenth consecutive grand prix without finishing on the podium. The last time he stood among the top three spraying the champagne was the Mexican Grand Prix at the end of October when he finished a very distant second behind Max Verstappen.

Since then he hasn't even come close to a top three finish. His 2023 season ended with eighth, seventh and ninth place finishes in Sao Paulo, Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi respectively.

It's not improved in 2024. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia also brought seventh and ninth place finishes before he retired early on at the Australian Grand Prix without showing much threat to the top three. Two ninth places have followed in Japan and China before his recent top six returns.

READ MORE: F1 team chief fires back at Ricciardo over 'disrespectful' comments

Lewis Hamilton finished in a joint season high of sixth at Imola
Hamilton's worst run of races without a podium started with a 2008 title win

Hamilton and the not so perfect 10

Only back in 2009 has he gone this long without getting a podium finish (sprint races not included). Bizarrely the run started on the day he clinched his first world championship where he finished fifth in Brazil at the last race of the 2008 campaign (you may remember it...)

He briefly held third place after the season opener in Australia before 'liegate'. This was an affair that saw him disqualified following inconsistent evidence given in regards to a penalty handed to Jarno Trulli, who was penalised with a time penalty before being reinstated after passing Hamilton under the safety car.

In the eight races that followed, only four top-ten finishes were achieved before McLaren brought a super upgrade package that made them much more competitive in the second half of the season.

In fact after going 10 races without a podium, Hamilton probably did the most Lewis Hamilton 'thing' by going from 16th and 18th place finishes in Britain and Germany to winning the Hungarian Grand Prix.

That's not a prediction that Hamilton will be on the top step at Monaco. But it is a reminder that even when things are at their lowest, Britain's greatest F1 driver does have a habit of striking back if not sooner then definitely later.

Whether that is at Ferrari next year, or a final flurry with Mercedes we will find out sooner enough, but even though as he approaches his 40s he is unlikely going to make more improvements, it is also far too soon to be writing him off just yet.

READ MORE: Where do Hamilton and Verstappen place in Forbes' 2024 highest-paid athletes list?

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