Lewis Hamilton recounted an intense confrontation with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff as internal stuff after a dismal performance in qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton got into a heated argument with Toto Wolff after a bad qualifying performance left him 13th on the grid for Saturday’s Sprint race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion, barely made it out of Q1 by four thousandths of a second before Carlos Sainz crashed out and the rain began to fall in Q2.

Hamilton was unable to improve on his single lap due to the suddenly wet track, resulting in a pitiful grid position for Saturday’s 21-lap race around Imola, the results of which define the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

George Russell, in the sister Mercedes, also failed to make the top ten, ending a run of 187 races in which both Mercedes cars had failed to qualify. Russell is two spots ahead of his teammate in 11th place. As he bobbed up and down in his wayward Mercedes machine, Hamilton’s frustrations were clear.

“How far are we off, man? This is crazy,” Hamilton aired his frustrations after being eliminated after Q1.

Hamilton is trailing 43 points behind Charles Leclerc in the championship standings and appears to be on the verge of losing, perhaps irreversibly, ground this weekend, with points handed to the top eight in Saturday’s Sprint.

At the back of the team’s garage, the British driver, still wearing his helmet, was spotted having animated discussions with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.

“It was all internal stuff, I do not want to share what was said,” Hamilton said.

“You come here with optimism, you know everyone is working really hard at the factory and when things just don’t come together, it is disappointing.”

“We underperformed as a team today. There are things we should have done which we did not do but we will work as hard as we can to move up in the Sprint race,” he added.

“Hopefully tomorrow is better weather wise and we can move forward.”

“We will work as hard as we can to move up in the sprint race. It is going to be a difficult race but hopefully it is better weather-wise and who knows, maybe we can make our way forward.”

Mercedes failed to qualify a car for the top-10 shoot-out for the first time since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix, ending a run of 187 consecutive appearances.

While the rain and a crash involving Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz both played a role in Imola, the W13 appeared to be far too slow to qualify on merit.

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