Max Verstappen issues ‘not all horrific’ verdict on Lewis Hamilton’s woes

Max Verstappen has issued his verdict on Lewis Hamilton's struggles with Mercedes this season, declaring it's 'not all horrific' given George Russell's consistent showings in the same car.

Hamilton's early-season woes have seen him already concede his chances of fighting for the title are over, with Toto Wolff branding the 2022 Mercedes 'undrivable' after Hamilton finished outside the points last time out at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

However, while Hamilton has had a period to forget, Russell has managed to find his rhythm since joining the team from Williams and has finished inside the top-five in each of his four races this term – finishing above his teammate in the last three.

As such, Verstappen believes Mercedes' problems are perhaps not as big as some are making out when giving his assessment of his rival's issues so far this term.

“George probably had a good start [in Imola] and a good clean first lap – and that helps. But I’d say [Hamilton’s] car had quite a bit more pace than the midfield traffic," the defending champion said when asked about Russell outperforming Hamilton.

“But yeah, it was hard to pass. I mean also when there was only one dry line and when you don't have, let's say, a top speed advantage anymore. It makes it a lot harder to judge how far Lewis was off George. But clearly the whole weekend George was doing really well.

“Now he’s [Hamilton] in a car which is not so great. Having said that, of course, George does finish fourth in that car. So it is not all horrific right?"

HAVE YOUR SAY! Is Mercedes' car better than they're making it out to be? Comment below.

Verstappen has also encountered issues with his Red Bull this season, having been forced to retire from two of the opening three races of the season, but bounced back with a solid showing at Imola that saw him secure maximum points after winning the Sprint, the race itself and securing the fastest lap.

That came alongside a poor display from Ferrari, with Carlos Sainz eliminated on the opening lap and championship leader Charles Leclerc making a late mistake that saw him concede a podium finish and only come in sixth at the chequered flag.

Leclerc's championship lead now stands at just 27 points ahead of the maiden Miami Grand Prix, while Hamilton is way adrift and finds himself 58 points behind top-spot, lying in the lowly position of seventh.

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