Lewis Hamilton will start the Brazilian Grand Prix from sixth position at best having taken a new internal combustion engine for this weekend’s event.
The Mercedes driver will face a five-place grid penalty as a result just as he did in Turkey for taking a single power unit element for the third time this season, negating a 10-place hit as per the regulations.
The penalty only applies to Sunday’s race rather than the Saturday sprint meaning his position in the Friday qualifying session will remain unaffected.
It’s Hamilton’s fifth of the season as Mercedes continues to struggle with unreliability at the tail-end of a tightly-contested championship fight. An already uphill struggle in the battle with Max Verstappen has become a monumental task while the Red Bull driver is set to finish the campaign with four engines.
Currently the Mercedes driver has a 19-point deficit to make up in the drivers’ championship to the leader which is now likely to grow this weekend.
“This year we’ve had our wings clipped,” Hamilton surmised on Thursday ahead of the confirmation of his penalty. “It’s definitely been harder from an operational standpoint to maximise the car.
“Every race is a must win race and has been a must win race since forever, particularly since we come back from the break. But we’ve not really been managed to be able to do so.”