Hamilton gets in trouble

Lewis Hamilton changes the combustion engine of his Mercedes and receives a five-place penalty on the grid at the Sao Paulo GP on Sunday. Replacement is a must, Mercedes power units have suffered in the last third of the season and reliability issues were a constant for his teammate, Bottas. It is the fifth of the year for Lewis, Valtteri already has six, but Verstappen aims to complete the season with only four. Honda’s first triumph over Mercedes is to have turned the situation around in this fundamental section.

The weekend is committed to the Englishman, who will classify this Friday afternoon in search of the pole of the ‘F1 Sprint’, on Saturday (with three points for the winner), but will serve his sanction in the traditional race on Sunday. Verstappen leads the World Cup with 18 points that could be more if what everyone hopes happens: that the Dutchman wins in Brazil and Hamilton does not finish even second. There are four races left, counting Interlagos. The most pessimistic already predict a championship decided before Abu Dhabi now that, it seems, Mercedes is on the wrong foot.

With everything, Hamilton was fastest in free practice prior to qualifying with three tenths of income over the Red Bulls. The reality is not that: Verstappen and Checo set their best times several minutes earlier, with the track in worse condition, and it seems that Red Bull is going every lap and is more competitive than W12. There are hours to confirm. Gasly and Sainz finished immediately behind the big cars and Alonso was ninth with the Alpine, which at least reflects some improvement compared to Mexico.

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