Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko joked Lewis Hamilton may be wishing he retired at the end of last season amid a difficult start to the 2022 campaign.
The seven-time world champion could only manage a 14th place finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday at the end of what was a dismal weekend for the Briton.
And Marko, who watched his Red Bull team secure a one-two thanks to Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, questioned Hamilton’s decision to continue in the sport following his problematic afternoon.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the Imola race, Marko said: “I mean, he was lapped by us so maybe he (is thinking) he should have stopped last year.”
Hamilton is a huge 58 points behind Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc at the top of the drivers’ championship standings. He is also 21 points adrift of Mercedes teammate George Russell.
And despite being just four races into the season, the Brit has already quashed any hopes of a title fightback.
“We are obviously not fighting for the championship,” Hamilton said as his bid for a record-breaking eighth world championship in 2022 already appears to be over.
“We are fighting to understand the car, improve and progress through the year. That’s all we can hope for now.
“Ultimately we haven’t got it right, but everyone’s working as hard as they can to reverse it.”
Next up for Hamilton and the other 19 drivers is a trip to America for the Miami Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.