Hamilton’s fresh title blow with another grid penalty

Mercedes driver to start no higher than sixth on Sunday’s race grid in Brazil due to another engine change; Hamilton’s starting position unaffected for Saturday’s sprint, where points are also on offer; Qualifying at 7pm on Sky Sports F1 tonight

Last Updated: 12/11/21 3:48pm

    Lewis Hamilton’s championship bid has suffered a fresh setback with another five-place grid penalty for an engine change at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

    Hamilton will start no higher than sixth on the grid for Sunday’s race in Brazil due to the penalty.

    Hamilton is 19 points behind Max Verstappen in the championship with only three races to go after this Sunday.

    With Interlagos staging the season’s third and final sprint weekend, Hamilton’s weekend will not be affected by the penalty until Sunday – meaning he will start Saturday’s mini race, the sprint, in the position he qualifies on Friday night. It’s his finishing position in the sprint that will now have five places added to for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

    It will be the second grid drop Hamilton has taken in the last four races due to an unscheduled engine change, and the fifth for a Mercedes driver since the summer break.

    Speaking to Sky F1 in Austin three weeks ago, team boss Toto Wolff admitted: “We’ve unfortunately had since mid-year some reliability issues that keep coming back.

    “I think we understand now much better what it is, but it means that there is no durability in running them and that means potential DNFs.”

    ‘It’s better to take a penalty now than take a DNF’

    Analysis from Sky F1’s Anthony Davidson

    “In many ways that was F1’s worst kept secret.

    “It’s not a bad circuit to take it. It’s a shame for Lewis that they have to take it, and for us as fans – you want to see that championship fight as close as it can be at all times. He’s likely not to be near Verstappen going into Turn 1 on Sunday.

    “You just feel like it’s another blow for Mercedes. Red Bull definitely seem to have the advantage, the momentum at this stage of the championship.

    “But it’s better to take a penalty now than take a DNF. That is one to avoid at all costs.”

    More to follow…