Lewis Hamilton confirms Spa engine penalty
Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that he will take an engine penalty at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion had been expected to suffer a grid drop at Spa-Francorchamps having already utilised his allocated five power units for the season.
The full extent of the penalty remains unclear at this stage with Mercedes yet to decide how many components it will change on Hamilton’s engine.
Under the FIA regulations, the first time a sixth engine component is used triggers a 10-place grid penalty, followed by a further five-place drop if other components are changed.
Faced with at least a 10-place penalty, the championship leader says this weekend will be about damage limitation.
The three-time world champion holds a 19 point lead over Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg after winning six of the last seven races.
“As far as I am aware we will be taking the penalty this weekend,” said Hamilton.
“Naturally we already discussed engine penalties before, that will come into play for sure but I will do everything I can to minimise the impact.
“Otherwise, beyond that penalty that I will eventually take, I think I will be able to continue with the momentum I had before the break.
“I think in terms of winning, that is the goal but it will be very, very hard.
“The gap has closed between other cars. We are in third year of evolution of cars and Red Bull is quick, same as Ferrari.
“It will be harder than it was last year or year before to climb through field. It will be about minimising the damage of taking a penalty.”
Opening practice is scheduled to begin at 1800 AEST.