It seems like a 15-place grid penalty is the very least Hamilton can expect for the Belgian Grand Prix after an engine change.
It seems this was inevitable. Mercedes has just announced that it is likely Hamilton will need a fresh engine part going into this weekend, just to make it through the rest of the season. Certainly not a desired outcome, especially since Hamilton’s overuse of engine parts has been haunting him since the beginning of 2016. This has been his Achilles heel the entire time, despite his overturning of his 43-point deficit against Nico Rosberg to a 19-point advantage.
“As far as I am aware, we will be taking the penalty this weekend. Naturally, we already discussed engine penalties before, that will come into play, but I will do everything I can to minimise the impact they have. Otherwise, beyond that penalty, I think I will be able to continue with the momentum I had before the break.”
It might even get worse as the afternoon wanes on, as Mercedes has been spotted fitting a new unit to his car after Practice One. He’ll break a record, alright, but not the kind he would want to. He’d supersede Jenson Button as the Formula 1 driver who incurred the most penalties in a single race.
He’ll be starting the race from last position, a place no one has ever won a race from historically. Maybe a drastic-seeming punishment, but Mercedes decided to take the pain all in one hit instead of settling for a series of separate demotions. A bold choice, but certainly death by a thousand cuts is no way to go down either.