Hamilton loses grid in Turkey after engine change


Formula 1 F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 7, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at a press conference ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix pool via REUTERS / Sedat Suna

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  • F1 leader Hamilton to win 10 grid spots
  • Turkey chosen as circuit with good chances of overtaking

ISTANBUL, Oct. 8 (Reuters) – Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will face a 10-grid penalty at the Turkish Grand Prix after Mercedes changed his car’s engine on Friday due to reliability issues .

The new internal combustion engine (ICE) exceeds the Briton’s allowance by three for the season, triggering the penalty.

Hamilton is two points ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with seven races to go, including Sunday’s at the Istanbul Park circuit, and any mechanical failure in the race would be a big blow.

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Verstappen was penalized in the previous rainy race in Russia, starting last but still finishing second to limit the damage.

Hamilton won in Turkey last year, winning his record-breaking seventh championship. He had minimized the need for an engine change on Thursday.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has taken a brand new power unit as part of a planned upgrade and will start from the back of the grid.

Mercedes’ track engineering manager Andrew Shovlin told Sky Sports TV the team had simulated all races until the end of the year before deciding Turkey was the best option.

Hamilton moved from 19th to second on the Istanbul circuit in a GP2 race in 2006, the year before his Formula 1 debut with McLaren.

“It’s a circuit, you remember Lewis and that GP2 race, where he felt there was a lot of opportunity and that should make for an exciting Sunday,” said Shovlin.

Hamilton would have gone to the back of the grid if Mercedes had changed all parts of the powertrain, but Shovlin said changing the engine covered most of the risk and anything else was “a lot of pretty intrusive work.”

“Obviously the thing you absolutely don’t want to do is fail in a race and still have to take a penalty,” he said.

“And then there is also an element of performance, because the power units lose a bit of power over the course of their life.

“What contributes the most to this element of reliability and performance is the ICE itself and it’s better to take 10 seats than start at the back.”

Hamilton had the fastest lap in the opening practice, four tenths of a second faster than Verstappen.

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Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Peter Rutherford and Toby Davis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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