Hamilton takes five-place grid penalty, sets pace in Brazil

·2-min read
Lewis Hamilton in Sao Paulo this week (AFP/CARL DE SOUZA)

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of an eighth world title suffered a fresh blow Friday when he was penalised five places on the Brazil GP grid for taking an engine change on his Mercedes.

The British driver, who is 19 points behind Max Verstappen in the championship with four races left, had already experienced four engine changes this season.

"Lewis has taken a new Internal Combustion Engine for this event - his fifth of the season - and will take a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's #BrazilGP," his Mercedes team tweeted.

His latest five-place penalty will not apply in Saturday's qualifying sprint race at the Interlagos circuit.

Despite the impending penalty, Hamilton was still fastest in opening practice on Friday with Verstappen in a Red Bull at 0.367sec behind.

Their teammates Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull, at 0.442sec, and Valtteri Bottas behind the wheel of the second Mercedes, 0.517sec off the lead, filled out the top four.

First practice times:

Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:09.050 (31 laps), Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda) 1:09.417 (22), Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull-Honda) 1:09.492 (28), Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:09.567 (30), Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:09.880 (32), Carlos Sainz (ESP/Ferrari) 1:10.124 (31), Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:10.142 (32), Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:10.145 (27), Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault) 1:10.201 (26), Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:10.352 (27), Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:10.374 (33), Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:10.413 (28), Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) 1:10.443 (31), Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari) 1:10.587 (31), Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:10.610 (27), Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1:10.885 (27), Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 1:10.902 (23), George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes) 1:10.938 (24), Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:10.990 (25), Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas-Ferrari) 1:11.342 (28)

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