Lewis Hamilton to start eighth in Austria following F1 grid penalty


Formula 1 championship contender Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix from eighth place on the grid after taking a five-place penalty for a gearbox change.

Hamilton arrived in Spielberg trailing Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by 14 points at the top of the standings, having finished fifth two weeks ago in Baku when a faulty headrest cost him a likely victory.

Hamilton’s hopes of a second straight Austrian Grand Prix victory were dealt a blow on Friday evening when the FIA technical delegate revealed Mercedes had changed the gearbox on his car before it had completed its minimum cycle.

The penalty was formally confirmed by the stewards on Saturday ahead of qualifying, where Hamilton took third place on the grid behind Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Vettel.

As a result, Hamilton will drop to P8 on the final grid for the race, but is set to start on super-soft tires that will last longer than the rest of the top 10’s tires, all of whom will take to the grid on ultra-softs.

“Congratulations to Valtteri, he did a fantastic job and has been driving well all weekend,” Hamilton said.

“Obviously Sebastian is very quick this weekend so I’m happy to be third. I would loved to have improved my lap, but just wasn’t to be.

“I’ll do the best job I can [in the race]. I obviously want to try and get up there and get a one-two with Valtteri so I’ll do the best job I can to get further up.

“I have the super-soft tomorrow but I think it’s generally a slower tire than they are on but can maybe go longer. We will see.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.