Lewis Hamilton will have to fight his way through the field at the Belgian Grand Prix after both him and his team confirmed that he will take an engine penalty on Sunday.
The penalty comes as a result of the reliability issues he suffered early in the season which made him exceed his allocation of power unit elements.
"As far as I’m aware we’ll be taking the engine penalty this weekend. I have no engines left, so…
"Naturally we already discussed engine penalties before so that will come into play for sure – but I’ll do everything I can to minimise the impact it will have. Otherwise, beyond that penalty I’ll eventually take, I think I’ll be able to continue with the momentum. I plan to continue with the momentum that I had before the break."
The Briton has already used five turbo and MGU-H in the races before the summer break, meaning that he will be hit with a 10-place penalty as soon as he uses the sixth unit. The Mercedes driver believes it will be difficult to win after a penalty like this and considers the race will be more about minimising the damage.
"Honestly, I really don’t know how far I can get up. It depends, the pace of the other cars. We’ll start tomorrow and we’ll find out. If Red Bull are right close with us, that’s two cars less, that’s three down and then the gap follows behind. If the others are much much slower than the possibilities go up. There’s going to be safety cars, all sorts of things. I started last in Belgium, er, in Hungary a couple of years ago when the gaps were much bigger and came fourth, so Sunday’s definitely going to be harder than that and I just hope that I can get into the points. As long as I’m going forward, that’s what matters.
"In terms of winning, that’s the goal but it’s going to be very, very hard if, obviously everyone’s… if the gap is close between other cars. We’re in the third year of evolution of these cars, so Red Bull have been very quick in some of the races, same with Ferrari particularly and down the whole grid, so it’s going to be harder than it was last year or the year before to climb through the field, for sure – but I’ll do everything I can. It’s really about minimising the damage of taking the penalty", he explains.
"And I think… I mean it is a team sport. We win and we lose together as a team. Whether I make a mistake and the team take the penalty for it, or the team make a mistake, sometimes it’s not actually mistake, it’s just the kind of thing that happens. I don’t look at it as incompetence, I find it a growing experience for us because we’ve learnt a lot from the issues that have happened and hopefully won’t have them again. It’s just unfortunate that I’m the – I guess – the test mice, or whatever you want to call it, that’s tested all of these issues, because obviously none of the other Mercedes engines has had the problems I’ve had."