Lewis Hamilton to start from back of grid at Monza due to engine penalty

·3-min read

Lewis Hamilton will start from the back of the grid for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix following an engine penalty.

The British driver will be forced to take on his fourth power unit of the campaign in Monza – one more than is allowed under Formula One’s rules.

Hamilton’s impending punishment effectively ends his hopes of fighting for victory, a week after he apologised for accusing his team of “f****** screwing” him following a strategy blunder at the Dutch Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion might have been able to reach the end of the 22-race campaign using three engines before his opening-lap collision with Fernando Alonso in Spa-Francorchamps a fortnight ago.

Hamilton was launched airborne after he made contact with the Spaniard – an accident which saw Alonso label Hamilton an “idiot”.

He sustained a water leak following the impact of the crash and Mercedes do not believe the engine is fit-for-use in its full capacity.

A Mercedes spokesperson said: “We will be fitting a fourth power unit this weekend for Lewis.

Lewis Hamilton was frustrated to miss out on victory in Zandvoort last weekend
Lewis Hamilton was frustrated to miss out on victory in Zandvoort last weekend (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

“This is because, although we are still working on the recovery plan for the power unit that was damaged in Spa, that unit cannot be run this weekend.”

The high-speed Monza track will provide Hamilton with the chance to fight back through the pack.

But Thursday’s news will come as a yet another blow in a turbulent campaign.

Hamilton, who has not won a race since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last year, is 152 points behind runaway championship leader Max Verstappen, and 30 points adrift of team-mate George Russell.

Hamilton’s record of winning at least one race in each season he has competed in is also under threat, with just six races to follow after Sunday’s round at the Temple of Speed.

But Hamilton said: “Honestly, that record has zero importance to me. I’m grateful that each year, we have had since 2007 I have had an opportunity to win.

“Here, I will have to recover the best I can from the back, but I do believe that I have the chance this year to win.

“That’s still a really big goal for us as a team, to get back to the front and be fighting for the lead.”

Hamilton’s current £40million-a-year deal expires at the end of the next season. His future on the grid was in great doubt after he lost last season’s deeply contentious championship finale in Abu Dhabi, while Mercedes’ form has also raised questions as to whether he will go on beyond the end of the year.

But the 37-year-old said: “For me it is about winning another world championship and the idea that no driver in history has gone past seven, you want to try and accomplish that.

“I feel healthier than I’ve ever felt, I feel fit, I love what I am doing, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“I think I will always be with Mercedes until the day I die, and I feel I can race for quite a bit longer.”