Lewis Hamilton penalty confirmed for Turkish Grand Prix in major Max Verstappen boost

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been hit with a 10-place grid penalty ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix after picking up a fourth engine prior to free practice on Friday. The championship leader currently holds a two-point advantage over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the title fight.

Hamilton hinted on Thursday that the seven-time world champions could change his engine ahead of the race in Istanbul, with Mercedes admitting they were on the fence.

Drivers are only allowed three allocated engines each season, and taking a forth engine comes with an immediate penalty, meaning the championship leader won’t start any higher than 11th on Sunday.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had already raised concerns after the Russian Grand Prix regarding the engine, adding they were looking at the decision on a “race by race” basis with just seven races remaining.

However, with Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas taking back-to-back grid penalties in Italy and in Russia, it seemed inevitable the Briton would be next.

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When askeed if he may have to take a fresh engine in Turkey, Hamilton admitted he couldn’t be sure either way.

He said: “At the moment I still have number two and three, so don’t envision us having to take one at the moment. But that could change who knows.”

Hamilton’s main title rival Max Verstappen opted to take a new engine in Russia, after already incurring a three-place grid drop for causing a collision with the Mercedes driver in Monza.

It handed Hamilton an advantage in Sochi, but as the rain fell in the latter part of the race, Red Bull made a crucial tyre change for intermediate tyres, with Verstappen finishing second behind the seven-time world champion.

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