Lewis Hamilton will start sprint race in Austria from ninth

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Lewis Hamilton has avoided a grid penalty for today’s sprint race in Austria – but will drive the spare car following his crash in qualifying.

Hamilton sustained significant damage to the front-right of his Mercedes after he ended up in the barriers at Turn 7 at the Red Bull Ring on Friday evening.

It was feared the seven-time world champion might incur a penalty for taking on a new power unit.

However, Hamilton’s power unit has been salvaged and he will start from ninth on the grid for today’s 24-lap dash to the chequered flag.

Hamilton has switched to a different gearbox , but one that comes out of his permitted allocation.

George Russell also has a new gearbox after he crashed out at the final corner, and remains in his starting slot of fourth.

A Mercedes spokesperson said: “We have swapped Lewis to the spare chassis owing to right-hand side damage from the accident.

“Floors and wings have been repaired and/or swapped and power units have been thoroughly checked and nothing replaced.”

Hamilton’s mechanics were still getting his car ready when final practice started at 12:30pm local time.

The British driver eventually emerged from his garage with just 14 minutes remaining.

He completed 13 laps and finished ninth, seven tenths behind Carlos Sainz, who set the pace for Ferrari.

The Spaniard edged out team-mate Charles Leclerc by just 0.050 seconds, with world champion Max Verstappen, who starts from pole position for the sprint race, third. Russell finished seventh.

Saturday’s sprint race, which determines the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, starts at 4:30pm (3:30pm UK time).

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