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Belgian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton to take grid penalty

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton has confirmed he will take a grid penalty at this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

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Lewis Hamilton will face at least a 10-place grid penalty at the Belgian Grand Prix as he plans further changes to his Mercedes engine.

The defending world champion suffered from numerous reliability issues at the start of the season and has already used his allocation of five penalty-free changes to two of the six power unit elements.

The Brit received his fifth MGU-H and turbocharger at the Austrian Grand Prix in July, meaning one more change of either component will incur a grid penalty of at least 10 places.

A five-place demotion is then imposed when any other element is switched for a sixth time and with a 19-point lead over team-mate Nico Rosberg in the drivers' standings, Hamilton could take the penalties in one go at Spa-Francorchamps by introducing two new parts simultaneously.

"As far I'm aware we'll be taking the penalty this weekend, I have no engines left," Hamilton said in a media conference on Thursday.

"That [still winning with the penalty] is the goal. It will be very hard, the gaps have closed between other cars. I just hope that I can get into the points.

"Red Bull have been very quick, the same with Ferrari, so it will be harder than last year to climb through the field. I will do everything I can and try to minimise the impact of the penalty.

"We win and lose as a team. I don't see it as team incompetence.

"If I make a mistake or there's a tech problem, we win and lose together. It is just unfortunate I am the test mouse who has tested all these issues, the other Mercedes engine hasn't had the problems I have had."

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