Later today Lewis Hamilton will be starting at the back of the grid in the Belgian GP after Mercedes triggered his third engine-related penalty during Saturday morning’s practice.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) August 27, 2016
The car was fitted with its third brand-new power unit of the weekend when Practice Three began which resulted in another 25 place penalty and sent Hamilton to a bottom row start alongside former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso.
The demotion is a punishment for exceeding the number of engines a driver is allowed to use in a single season and it is the much expected consequence of the mechanical problems which his car suffered at the beginning of the season. After a series of setbacks Hamilton was left with just one unit in his permitted allowance for the remainder of the season.
Rather than having to take the risk of separate demotions over the remainder of the season the team decided to take all of them in a single hit and deliberately chose the overtaking-friendly spa circuit.
All of Hamilton’s new engines have also been upgraded and Mercedes has spent five of their remaining 11 tokens on improvements to the power unit.
However, there is still danger ahead as Hamilton remains one reprimand away from an automatic 10-place drop following two driving misdemeanours earlier in the season.
If Hamilton can come from behind to win today then he will make history as an F1 grand prix has never been won by a driver who started from the bottom row of the grid. The lowest starting point for any of Hamilton’s victories is sixth at the British GP in July 2014.
Nonetheless, he is determined to go for it and all eyes will be on him as he battles to retain his position at the front of the Driver’s Championships.