Hamilton 'lost' after horror show
Lewis Hamilton described himself as "lost" following a Spanish Grand Prix he felt was one of his worst races for many years.
- Related Content
From second on the grid, Hamilton plummeted 10 places over the course of the race at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, winding up a miserable 12th and out of the points.
For team-mate Nico Rosberg, who had started from pole, the situation was not as painful as the German slipped to sixth.
But at a track where 21 of the previous 22 winners had come from the front row, which Mercedes locked out following qualifying, this was a bitter pill for Hamilton to swallow.
"That was tough, way too tough. I felt like I was going backwards, which I obviously did," said Hamilton.
"It has to go down as one of the worst races I've had for a long, long time, and I really don't know what the problem is. I'm lost.
"We were slow and I had no grip for some reason. I pushed as hard as I could, saved as much as I could at the times I needed to, but the grip, the tyres never came in, never arrived.
"So quite a disappointing weekend."
Mercedes conducted a two-hour debrief post-race, sifting through the wreckage of a wretched result from such a position of strength.
Hamilton can only hope answers emerge soon otherwise his title hopes will soon fade, with the 28-year-old now 39 points adrift of current three-times champion Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull.
"What happened is something that could easily cause me problems again, so I have to hope we find out what the problem is and fix it," added Hamilton.
"We've clearly a lot of work to do. Obviously we both went backwards, but I went back a long, long way.
"So we'll go back to the drawing board and hope to find out what is wrong.
"This is still a fantastic team, we have to keep pushing, and though we've a lot to catch up on Ferrari, Lotus and Red Bull, we'll get there."
Team principal Ross Brawn assessed what unfolded as "a very difficult afternoon", but at present is at a loss to understand where it goes wrong on a Sunday.
"The comparison between our competitiveness in qualifying and in the race was particularly disappointing," said Brawn.
"Nico did an excellent job managing the tyres to make just three stops and his level of performance showed what our car is currently capable of on tracks like this.
"Lewis didn't have a good balance at any point and that simply made a critical situation worse, which forced him to convert to a four-stop strategy midway through the race.
"We must find the key to why we are losing performance on Sunday afternoon and find the right solutions to improve."