For Formula 1 record champion Lewis Hamilton, the world championship question is not on his mind at the moment. “I’m out of the world championship, that’s for sure,” said the seven-time title holder after the next serious sporting setback this year.

The 37-year-old superstar failed to even score points at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, finishing 13th. Team boss Toto Wolff immediately apologised to Hamilton for the “undriveable” Mercedes.

The car was not worthy of a world champion like Hamilton, Wolff stressed. The fact that team-mate George Russell had managed to finish fourth in the Silver Arrow in Sunday’s race at Imola had been a highlight, the team boss said. But Wolff also made it clear that without the early retirement of Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari and the mistake of Charles Leclerc, who later finished sixth, also from the Scuderia, Russell would not have finished so far ahead.

Wolff’s conclusion after four Grand Prix weekends on Sky TV: “I think we can compete for third place in the Constructors’ World Championship, but nothing more.” However, he also indicated in a media round: he does not want to say goodbye to the idea of the World Championship. “What I love about the sport is that it doesn’t always follow the maths.”

Mercedes has won the world team championship in each of the past eight years, and the German factory team has also celebrated seven drivers’ titles, six by Hamilton. “We continue to work hard and continue to keep hope that we can get it all together,” Hamilton stressed at Imola, where everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

Hamilton is seventh in the standings with 28 points. Hamilton is already 58 points behind leader Leclerc.