Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes in `no man´s land´ after finishing sixth at Imola

Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes are in “no man’s land” after he finished a distant sixth in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Mercedes brought a raft of updates to this weekend’s race in Imola, but they failed to reverse the team’s underwhelming campaign.

Hamilton took the chequered flag 35 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen as the Dutch driver crossed the line just 0.725 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris with Charles Leclerc third for Ferrari, 7.9 seconds adrift.

George Russell finished seventh, dropping behind team-mate Hamilton when he was put on a two-stop tyre strategy.

“We are in no man’s land,” said Hamilton, who made up two places from his grid slot of eighth. “There wasn’t much more for us to get today.

“It is not tough. It is where we are and we have to do the best we can and that is the best we could do today.”

Hamilton, 39, heads to Monaco for next weekend’s race in the principality ninth in the drivers’ standings, and with only 27 points on the board – 109 behind Verstappen.

The Silver Arrows are also a distant fourth in the constructors’ championship.

But team principal Toto Wolff said: “It’s not possible to see it in terms of the result, but we have taken a small step forward this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton started eighth and finished sixth in Imola (David Davies/PA)

“Our closest competitors have also done so recently, but we have closed the gap to the front a little.

“We still have a lot of work to do and, of course, we are all frustrated with sixth and seventh. But there is more to come, and it is all about making incremental gains.

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“These are what we need to keep delivering if we are to get ourselves in the fight with the three teams ahead of us.”

Russell added: “The car was capable of sixth and seventh and that is where we finished.

“Everybody is staying super-motivated and that is inspiring to see. We just have to keep pushing.”

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