Lewis Hamilton will be hit with a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix after his Mercedes team was forced to replace the Englishman’s gearbox.

The Brackley squad discovered damage to Hamilton’s gearbox following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix a fortnight ago and opted not to risk running it any further.

As the gearbox has not completed the six-race cycle mandated under Formula 1’s Sporting Regulations (Article 23.5a), he will be forced to take a grid penalty.

The development comes as a major blow to Hamilton, the fastest driver in both of Friday’s practice sessions at the Red Bull Ring, who lies 14 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

The matter was referred to the FIA Stewards’ panel by the FIA’s technical delegate Jo Bauer. They are expected to confirm the grid penalty on Saturday.

Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.