Why is Lewis Hamilton Only Given a 5-Place Grid Penalty Despite Getting 10-Place One for the Same Offence in Turkey?

Published 11/12/2021, 1:00 PM EST
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the pits during practice REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli


Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets in FP1 by quite some margin against Max Verstappen, making it a dream start for the 7-time world champion in Brazil. However, his brief dominance against Red Bull is all set to endure a significant blow following the Sprint qualifying on Saturday.

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The Briton received a new Internal Combustion Engine for the race weekend (his first since the Turkish Grand Prix) and hence, will be serving a 5-place grid penalty over the Sao Paulo Grand Prix on Sunday.

Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during practice REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Of course, this is a tough pill to swallow for Hamilton and pretty much the entire Mercedes crew, considering how close the championship battle has been, so far, with pretty much no margin for error. Contrastingly, Red Bull will be heaving a sigh of relief, hearing the news about Hamilton’s penalty.

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What’s more, a lot of fans, including Verstappen’s have pointed out that Hamilton served had a 10-place grid penalty for the same ICE change at Istanbul and questioned why that isn’t the case in Brazil. Well, here’s our explanation.

Why Lewis Hamilton evades the 10-place grid penalty at Sao Paulo GP

The FIA rulebook suggests that every single driver will have the freedom of changing engine components thrice for free over a season. And if they exceed the limit, they would have to serve a 10-place grid penalty; Hamilton did serve this penalty at the Turkish GP.

However, unlike the past years, for every follow-up change in that particular component, the driver can serve a minimized 5-place grid penalty.

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Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after finishing the race in fifth place REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Hence, Hamilton will evade the hefty 10-place grid penalty and rather will get to carry the much lesser burden of a 5-place grid penalty. Meaning, the Briton will not be able to start the Sao Paulo Grand Prix from any higher than P6 on the grid.

So, Hamilton’s getaway at lights-out will be highly crucial and he wouldn’t want a repeat of Istanbul either. Considering how rapidly Verstappen is pulling away in the championship, Hamilton will want to get himself onto the podium, or in a lucky enough scenario, a victory as well.

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But, which way is Hamilton’s fate going to go by the end of the race in Brazil? Well, we’ll know in time.

Watch Story: When F1 Drivers Had a Blast on Top Gear Featuring Hamilton, Vettel & Ricciardo

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Rohit Kumar

1441 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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