Lewis Hamilton has been dealt a major blow to his weekend plans after stewards handed down a five-place grid penalty to the seven-time world champion.
F1 officials confirmed the sanction was for an engine change at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
It won’t affect his grid placement for the Sprint, however, Hamilton will need to land in the top spot in Qualifying later this evening if he is to start at least sixth on the grid for Sunday’s race in Brazil due to the penalty.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff explained to Sky Sports why Hamilton took a five-place grid penalty and said; “We feel we can score more points.
“We have degradation on the engine.
“Until the end of the season it’s just going to continue to decrease in power and we haven’t yet realised why that is.
“We’re just seeing it creep down.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Christian Horner insists that the grid-drop means “nothing” to them and their impending strategy for the weekend.
He said: “It doesn’t change anything for us, we’ve just got to do the best job that we can.
“It’s highly understandable that Mercedes have decided to take that penalty. But we’re just focusing on ourselves.
“It’s just about getting it right on the day.
“We’ve seen Mercedes making good progress in recent races.
“We’ve just got to focus on ourselves, we’ve got to do the best job we can, extract the best we can out of our car, our drivers, our package, and just take it race by race.”