Hamilton hit with five-place grid drop for Brazil GP

Mark Scott
Lewis Hamilton arrives at the track. Sao Paulo November 2021

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton arrives at the track. Sao Paulo November 2021

The FIA has confirmed Lewis Hamilton will have a five-place engine penalty for the the Sao Paulo Grand Prix after taking on an new ICE component.

Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, Dr Helmut Marko, said he had received some information that another engine penalty was coming Hamilton’s way – and that information turned out to be true as the cars hit the track for the first practice session in Brazil.

Just like in Sochi, Hamilton has had yet another internal combustion engine fitted to his W12 ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, which equates to a five-place drop.

As we are in sprint weekend mode in Brazil, where Hamilton finishes in qualifying on Friday is where he will start the sprint on Saturday. His penalty is only going to come into effect for Sunday’s race and will drop five places from his finishing position in the sprint instead.

This is the fifth ICE element Hamilton has taken this season.

After learning of Hamilton’s latest grid penalty, Red Bull boss Christian Horner wasn’t getting carried away with the news.

“It doesn’t change anything for us,” Horner told Sky F1 during FP1.

“We have just got to do the best job that we can. There is some [bad] weather around today, we’ve got qualifying later, the sprint on Saturday and the main race on Sunday, and it’s entirely understandable that Mercedes would strategically take a penalty here which they won’t incur until Sunday.

“We’re just focused on ourselves.”

Back to the bigger picture, where Hamilton finds himself 19 points behind Max Verstappen in the title race, the seven-time World Champion feels Mercedes’ efforts in staying close to the dominant Red Bull at this stage of the season. are being under-appreciated.

He told Sky F1: “I think people under-appreciate just how well we’ve done, considering the pace they have had since day one, since the struggles we had in testing before the season, just skimming by and winning that first race (in Bahrain).

“Then we had a couple of races (Portugal and Spain) where I just don’t think they optimised and probably made more mistakes than they would have liked to.

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job, but at the end of the day we’ve not been as fast as them most of the time.”


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