Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that he will take a sixth power unit component ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, resulting in a grid penalty.
Hamilton arrived in Belgium leading Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship by 19 points after winning the last four races.
Power unit issues at the start of the season forced Hamilton to use more of his allocated components early, making a penalty in the second half of the season inevitable.
Drivers are permitted to use five of each power unit component across the course of the season, with penalties being handed out for exceeding this limit.
Hamilton confirmed in Thursday’s FIA press conference at Spa that he would be taking new components in Belgium, meaning he will take start towards the back of the grid.
“As far as I’m aware, we will take the penalty this weekend,” Hamilton said, before Mercedes gave official confirmation.
“As Lewis just confirmed in the press conference, we will take an engine penalty this weekend,” a team spokesperson said.
“It is safe to assume he will start from the back of the field or very close but we cannot be more precise at this stage.”
Hamilton has previously charged from the back of the grid to finish on the podium in Germany and Hungary two years ago, with both drives being decisive in winning him the title.
However, the Briton is skeptical that he can challenge for victory, given the reduction in Mercedes’ advantage over the field compared to two years ago.
“In terms of winning, that is going to be very, very hard. Obviously the gap has closed between other cars,” Hamilton said.
“We’re in the third year of the evolution of these cars, Red Bull have been very quick in some of the races and the same with Ferrari and down the whole grid, so it’s going to be harder than it was last year and the year before to climb through the field.
“But I’ll do everything I can and it’s just about minimizing the damage of taking the penalty.”