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Alonso, Vandoorne hit with F1 grid penalties in Mexico

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McLaren Formula 1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne are poised to start Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix from the back of the grid after changes were made to their Honda power units prior to practice on Friday morning.

Alonso and Vandoorne arrived in Mexico expecting to be penalized for another change in engine elements nearing the end of a difficult season for McLaren blighted by regular issues with Honda’s power units.

After taking a drop last Sunday in Austin, Vandoorne will fall back another 35 places for this weekend’s race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after McLaren took a complete new power unit for the Belgian driver.

Alonso has been hit with a 20-place grid penalty for a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H, meaning he is poised to start at the back of the field alongside his teammate.

The penalties were confirmed by the FIA after its latest round of steward decisions, with the documents being issued through FP1 on Friday.

To make matters worse for McLaren, Vandoorne suffered an issue with the new engine in opening practice on Friday morning, forcing the team to make another change.

However, McLaren will switch back to a spare, older-spec power unit on Vandoorne’s car for the rest of the weekend, meaning no further penalties are expected.

Vandoorne and Alonso are not the only drivers that will be hit with a penalty, with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly also due to fall back five places after his car was fitted with a new control electronics system.

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.