Lewis Hamilton will start the Brazilian Grand Prix from the pit lane after Mercedes opted to make a number of changes to his car following his crash in qualifying.
The four-time world champion lost control on his first timed lap of Q1 on Saturday afternoon, sliding sideways into the tire barrier at high speed and damaging the left-hand side of his car. As he had not set a time, Hamilton was due to start from last place on the grid despite power unit penalties for other drivers, so Mercedes will now take the opportunity to make changes under parc ferme conditions.
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The team has confirmed it will give Hamilton a new internal combustion engine (ICE), MGU-H and turbocharger as well as other components being changed that are not like-for-like, which results in a pit lane start. Mercedes had originally been running an older power unit from its pool this weekend, but Hamilton will now have a brand-new version of the latest specification introduced at Spa in order to give him a better chance of recovering through the field and run harder in Abu Dhabi.
Reflecting on his error, the Briton says he still feels the pain of making such a mistake even though it doesn’t have ramifications for either of this year’s championships.
“It feels the same as it would feel at any other point in the season,” Hamilton said. “It’s less painful because obviously the championship is done, but I still feel it just as much. I take so much pride in my commitment and how I drive and I’ve not made any mistakes all year. It’s been a long time since I put the car in the wall. But it happens and once it happens there is no point in dwelling on it.
“All I can do is keep my head high, move forward and it had been a good weekend up until then so I think hopefully you can tell I’ve not lifted off the gas and am backing off – I was going for it. I’m human still and s**t happens and you just move forward, try to rebuild and grow from it. I will naturally grow from it and I hope I can get back in the points for the team tomorrow.
“While the championship is also done for the team, it’s still my job and I want to get these points for the guys and a good result. And if I can somehow back Valtteri [Bottas] up tomorrow then I will do.”