Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2016

Hamilton confirms he will take grid penalty at Spa

2016 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton will take a grid penalty for changing power unit components at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton did not confirmed which parts he will change, but the Mercedes driver has already used five turbochargers and five MGU-Hs which is the most he can use without receiving a grid penalty. If he changes one he will receive a ten-place penalty and he will take a further five-place penalty if he changes another.

The penalty will diminish the likelihood of a race victory for Hamilton this weekend, he admitted. “In terms of winning, that’s the goal but it’s going to be very, very hard.”

“The gap has closed between other cars in the third year of evolution of these cars. Red Bull have been very quick, won some of the races. Same with Ferrari, particularly, and down the whole grid. So it’s going to be harder than it was the year before to climb through the field. It’s really about just minimising the damage of taking a penalty.”

It’s a team sport. We win and we lose together as a team. Whether I make a mistake and the team takes a penalty for it or the team makes a mistake, or sometimes it’s not actually a mistake it’s just that kind of thing that happens.”

Hamilton said he didn’t blame the team for his problem. “I don’t look at it as incompetence, I find it a growing experience for us because we’ve learned a lot from the issues that have happened,” he said. “Hopefully we won’t have those again.”

“It’s just unfortunate that I’m the ‘test mouse’ or whatever you want to call it, that’s tested all of these issues, because obviously none of the other Mercedes engines has had the problems I’ve had.”

2016 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Hamilton confirms he will take grid penalty at Spa”

  1. Should be interesting as the car will be set up for overtaking rather than cruising around in front with everything turned down to 20%

  2. Will he take two new engine this weekend?

    1. You would hope they do take two new MGU-H and two turbo units. That way he could still potentially benefit from any token usage to the other components for the rest of the season.

      1. Nope, I dont believe that is correct. If I understand correctly it doesn’t just add additional 1 or 2 to the total to be taken at any time. If he took 2 new this weekend then he would be stuck using the current spec and would take them for the rest of the season unless he takes a further penalty to take an upgraded new spec engine/component.

        1. I think you misread above comment, what altitude2k is saying only take new bits he is already needing and NOT take the other bits.
          Then if an upgrade comes out for, say the internal combustion unit, he still has new ones of them to take. Cant remember off the top of my head what else hamilton has availible for his power unit but it wil be on here somewhere.

    2. yes, he is going to take two new engines, one will be mounted to the left rear wheel and the other on the right rear wheel.

      Only one turbo to share between them though.

      this is what f1 has come to, ecclestone, fia, not like it used to be, etc…

    3. This was what I thought he should have done. Two engines instead of one. This would allow for room to wiggle to the end of the season. There’s a thread here where I posted this. He’s 19 points ahead. If he tried to run Spa with an old engine and it blows, disaster if Ros wins. Ros would be 6 pts ahead and looking forward to Hams grid penalty in the next race 6 pts up. Ros might extend the lead more.

      Ham taking two engines, if legal, would allow a safer run to end of season. If he takes two engines would he start from pit lane? (Just wondering) If so, it’s what I’d do depending on F1 rules not permitting what my plan is. The reason I’d start from pit lane if I could would be to limit as much as possible any chance of starting accidents, like China this year.

      Basically Ham should use the points for a buffer to alleviate possible future penalties, thus allowing him to drive as aggesive as possible to fight to the end. At Spa, he’d still come out ahead by 2 pts if he finishes 6th or even with Ros if Ham finishes 7th.

      1. The last points scenario is assuming Ros wins of course.

      2. @jabosha – the pit lane start option is interesting. As you say, it may avoid the likely collisions and abuse of carbon fibre often seen at La Source on lap 1 of a GP. Not doing an inspection lap also means slightly more fuel for the race. On the other hand it also means that the brakes and tyres are stone cold for the first half-lap.

    4. I remember a hilarious comment from last year, back when these penalties were more stringent. Essentially, the commenter said that McLaren-Honda should put in a new engine in FP1, another in FP2, FP3, Quali and Race; all over one weekend. It would mean that for that weekend, ALO/BUT would start 200 grid spots down (logically, not really); but it would give them free allocation of engines for later races.

  3. It’s better for him to get another engine in Monza and forget about the engine penalty for the rest of the season. In both tracks it’s an easy top 3rd or 4th, considering the tyres he can choose freely. But again, who know what hotheads do in the first corner.

  4. I think something amazing will happen this weekend, something for a change but i wont spoil it :)

    1. why, what, do you know something?

      1. He’s mystic, y’know.

    2. crash in the first corner and hülkenberg goes through

  5. It’s a good idea. Stay way-way-way far away from Rosberg at the start.

    1. Rosberg will still find a way to make a contact with Hamilton or force him off the track.

  6. Knowing they will do this, will they take part in Q or just stay in during Q1? Despite drivers knowing these kind of penalties I don’t I have ever seen one doing that.

    1. @xtwl As long as they can spare the tyres they might as well on the off-chance that a load of other drivers get penalties.

      I wonder whether Hamilton’s going to try to get a third reprimand to get that potential ten-place penalty out of the way too? Impeding someone in qualifying, cutting the pit lane entry line – there’s loads of ways he might do it.

      1. If I was a steward, I would look VERY suspicious on something like that @keithcollantine, @xtwl, I would probably decide on more than just giving a reprimand if I thought there being any chance of doing something like that on purpose.

        Maybe giving an in race stop and go or something, to make sure no one will try and game the system on reprimands like that.

        1. I agree with you @bascb, but how do you prove intent? If it were Rosberg, we can be reasonably sure he’d do something clumsy and obvious but with most other drivers it would be quite easy to make it look like a punishable error.

          Cutting the pit entry line or reversing in the pit lane would be my preferred choices :-)

          1. I think it’s not the Stewards that have to prove intent Phylyp. The driver steward would probably “know” immediately. And then it is up to Hamilton and the team to provide the evidence that it is not intentionally.

            The stewards are like judges here – they are free to make their judgement and hand out harsher penalties (and to an extent also lower penalties) based on that.

      2. It would make sense to set a time just within the 107% rule in Q1 and then park it in that case.

        1. @craig-o That wouldn’t even be needed as his FP3 times will prove sufficient.

  7. The question is, can he race to P2 from 11th place? Can he race to P2 from last place?

    I think he can get behind Ferrari and Red Bull for sure up to P6 easy. But then more than that? Maybe if they setup the car entirely for the race, stuff him on harder tires and 1 stop… bypassing all other cars inbetween, maybe land a podium.

    Get 2 engines loose a few points of his lead and bingo he is in even to Rosberg till the end of season.

    Taking two penalties one here one at Monza is worse I think. Starting twice from P11, P12… compromises him out of two race wins… which is a lot more points…

    But maybe their simulation shows He would get to P2 from P12, and only P6 from behind… It is better to be P2 twice than P6 once…

    :D Well that is assuming he would be P1 in Spa and Monza… far from being a foregone conclusion.

  8. Mercedes engines are the biggest problem for Hamilton getting back to the podium. They can be a nightmare to pass on fast tracks, even for the mighty Merc.

    1. that’s why there’s drs

  9. Jelle van der Meer
    26th August 2016, 7:17

    If Mercedes and Hamilton are smart they get everything done at once:
    1) Break a minor rule in FP1 or FP2 to get his 3 reprimand and incur a 10 place grid penalty
    2) Change gearbox unless he starting with a new gearbox anyway and incur a 5 place grid penalty
    3) Change all components of PU twice on Friday so he has spares till end of season and incur a 60 place grid penalty

    The reason he first must get the reprimand and gearbox penalties is that I am not sure if those do carry over – the PU grid penalties for sure do not.

    Above means he will start from the very back of the grid but he should consider starting from the pitlane instead for 2 reasons – it will keep him out of potential accidents during lap 1 and Mercedes can continue working on the car before the race while all other cars are in park fermee.

    Yes if he would start 22nd on the grid he might gain a few places during the first lap but it poses a great risk – starting from the pitlane he has 44 laps to overtake cars – Spa allows for overtake and with Mercedes speed the first 10 should be no problem – probably 1 per lap. If he starts on the hardest tyre he would be able to jump some more cars for those that come in for their first pitstops. That would allow (presuming folks are 2 stopping) to have twice the softest tyre at the end of the race while others are on harder tyres giving him an advantage for overtaking at the end.

    Realistically Hamilton should be able to finish 6th without a problem if you consider that over recents races they lapped or almost lapped everyone except Ferrari/Red Bull.

  10. Plus a safety car or rain that will put Lewis into contention for a victory too . with Lewis Hamilton anything is possible if he do so that will be epic.

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