Lewis Hamilton is expected to start from the back of the grid at the Italian Grand Prix after an engine change. The Mercedes star will have a fourth power unit installed this weekend after his car picked up damage at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s power-unit was flown to Mercedes factory at Brixworth after picking up 45G in damage during his crash with Fernando Alonso. But tests on the Mercedes power unit are understood not to have been positive.
It is believed Mercedes are not comfortable putting the unit back into Hamilton’s car meaning a new one will be installed instead. Hamilton has now exceeded the limit for power units this season meaning any new updates will result in a penalty.
It will be Hamilton’s first back of the grid state of the season as Mercedes’ reliability has been good so far this season. The damage was done after a heavy impact between Hamilton and Alonso on the opening lap of the Belgian Grand Prix.
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The pair came together at Les Combes corner after Hamilton turned on on the Spaniard in an attempt to secure P2. Alonso fired back at Hamilton after the accident, branding the seven-time champion as an “idiot”.
Hamilton shouldered the blame for the crash after the accident which ended his chance of securing his first win of the season. But, Alonso apologised at the Dutch Grand Prix, claiming he made the remarks in the “heat of the moment”.
He said: “If you say something to a Latin driver, everything’s a little bit more fun. But when you say something to others, it’s a little bit more serious. But yes, I apologise. I was not thinking what I said.”
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Hamilton’s former team-mate Valtteri Bittas will also take a grid penalty at the Italian Grand Prix. There are also rumours Red Bull could change Sergio Perez’s power unit which could also lead to a grid demotion
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc took penalties at the Belgian Grand Prix after also changing engine parts. It was Leclerc’s second back of the grid start of the season after also picking up one at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The title rivals penalties were among six drivers to be penalised at Spa-Francorchamps which caused confusion. Sky Sports host Martin Brundle appeared to slam the FIA over the weekend, claiming the penalties were “ridiculous”.
He commented: “I’ve been shown how they calculate that, how they apply the penalties car by car and then move them back down again. It’s horribly confusing.”