Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton’s grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix has increased to a whopping 55 places, with Mercedes punished for making further engine changes.
The Brit was took a 15-place grid penalty in the Friday morning session for having changed too many engine parts, and took another 15-place hit following another component change for the afternoon.
Given this, Mercedes took the opportunity to make multiple power unit changes – meaning a further and meaningless 25-place drop in a race of 22 cars.
The intention was to keep Hamilton’s engine in good shape for the rest of the season.
He is joined at the back by McLaren driver Fernando Alonso who has taken a 35-place hit, also for engine changes.
Championship leader believes there are “seven or eight” potential overtaking opportunities at Spa-Francorchamps, but said it will become increasingly difficult to pass anywhere other than Les Combes once he comes across the more competitive cars at the front of the field.
“On Sunday I might have a chance to overtake in Turn 1 [La Source], maybe, but it’s unlikely anyone will overtake there because it screws up the long straights, so most people will only overtake into Turn 5 [Les Combes] down the back straight. Hamilton said.
“What I’m saying is that there are other places you could overtake if the car in front is struggling, but that’s unlikely as you get further up the grid. It’s not really a good track for overtaking, I think.”
“It could be fun, I’ve never qualified 18th before, but in this heat, it could be the wrong time to take these penalties as the tyres will be gone so quickly, but it is what it is.” The Brit said
Also he added that the super-soft tyres were “terrible — and they only last three laps… So, it won’t be cool and easy breezy at all.”