Should Lewis Hamilton Take His F1 Engine Penalty at Monza for Damage Limitation?

Published 09/11/2021, 1:55 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after qualifying in second position for the sprint qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron


It seems Lewis Hamilton and sprint qualifying just don’t get along. After today’s 18-lap race in Monza, the Briton, who qualified second for the race, finished a dismal fifth. Despite having a strong Mercedes W12 under him, Hamilton failed to get past McLaren’s Lando Norris, who finished fourth.

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A key issue for teams this season has been keeping power units intact. During the whole season, each team can only use three power units. However, drivers like Hamilton and Max Verstappen have struggled on different occasions, which means they will serve engine penalties sometime this season.

Given the Silver Arrows’ strength on this track, Valtteri Bottas will serve that penalty in tomorrow’s race. However, the German outfit may consider doing the same for Hamilton.

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Can Mercedes do damage control by having Lewis Hamilton serve an engine penalty this weekend?

Following his crash in Silverstone a few months ago, Verstappen lost one of his three power units due to the crash. Hence, the Dutchman will fit a fourth power unit sometime during the course of this season. After finishing second in today’s sprint race, Verstappen now has a five-point lead over Hamilton.

As for Hamilton, he suffered a power unit failure in last week’s Dutch Grand Prix. This would mean he will also need a fourth power unit, which will send him to the back of the grid when incurring the penalty.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

During this weekend, Mercedes have shown the best pace among all teams all the grid. Hamilton topped both practice sessions in Monza, while Bottas narrowly edged out the Briton in qualifying yesterday. In addition, the Finn also led today’s sprint race comfortably, taking three points on offer.

With Monza’s high-speed corners and long straights, the Silver Arrows can make huge gains from the back of the grid. In addition, Hamilton’s race pace is often second to none. With a package suited to Monza, the defending champion may not find a better opportunity to suffer a grid penalty than this weekend.

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While Mercedes ponder on their decision, Red Bull will wait for their decision. Should they have ample time, they could fit that fourth power unit in Verstappen‘s car to ensure they don’t miss out on future opportunities to keep Mercedes at bay.

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With under 24 hours left for the race, these permutations and combinations offer an exciting dimension to the race and the title fight. Will Hamilton join Bottas at the back of the grid tomorrow? Only time will tell.

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Sanket Nair

642 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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