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

By James Galloway

Last Updated: 12/11/21 4:08pm

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Lewis Hamilton is taking a new internal combustion engine on his Mercedes in Brazil and will face a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Lewis Hamilton is taking a new internal combustion engine on his Mercedes in Brazil and will face a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Lewis Hamilton’s championship bid has suffered a fresh setback with another five-place grid penalty confirmed 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 will not be impacted by the penalty until Sunday – meaning he will start Saturday’s mini race, the sprint, in the position he qualifies on Friday night.

It is the seven-time champion’s finishing position in the sprint – where a maximum of three points are on offer – that will now have five places added to determine his starting position 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 August summer break.

Drivers are limited to just three penalty-free internal combustion engines per season, but Hamilton and Bottas have now been forced onto their fifth and sixth respectively amid a rare show of fallibility for Mercedes engine reliability.

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Simon Lazenby is joined by Martin Brundle and Paul di Resta to look ahead to the Sao Paulo GP from the Interlagos circuit in Brazil.

Simon Lazenby is joined by Martin Brundle and Paul di Resta to look ahead to the Sao Paulo GP from the Interlagos circuit in Brazil.

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.”

Hamilton’s previous penalty was taken in Turkey last month and that was worth 10 places as it was the first time he had exceeded permitted limits. He qualified fastest, dropped to 11th on the grid, and then finished fifth in the race.

It’s a Sprint weekend – you know the drill! ?

The Friday track action from Interlagos is just about to get underway. Here’s your full live schedule, with Qualifying tonight.#SkyF1 | #F1 | #BrazilGP ??

— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1)

November 12, 2021

‘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.”

Ayrton’s colours ride again at Interlagos. ??? pic.twitter.com/nQgyFUYPQK

— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1)

November 12, 2021

Sky F1’s Sao Paulo GP schedule as the Sprint returns

Friday
6pm: Qualifying Build-Up Live

7pm: SAO PAULO GP QUALIFYING LIVE*

Saturday
2.30pm: Practice Two Live (session starts 3pm)

6.30pm: F1 Sprint Build-Up Live

7.30pm: SAO PAULO GP SPRINT LIVE*

9pm: Ted’s Sprint Notebook Live

Sunday
3.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Live

5pm: THE SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX LIVE**

7pm: Chequered Flag Live*

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