Mercedes has confirmed Lewis Hamilton will take a power unit penalty at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

While Mercedes had previously indicated it was keen to try and take the penalty at Monza – closer to the end of the season – the team’s preview suggested Hamilton would use new power unit components at Spa. Mercedes has now confirmed the penalty will be taken this weekend, meaning Hamilton will receive a grid penalty.

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At this stage it is undecided how many components Hamilton will change, which has in impact on how big his engine penalty will be, but the minimum penalty will be 10 places for using a sixth power unit component.

“It is safe to assume he will start from the back of the field or very close but we cannot be more precise at this stage,” a Mercedes spokesman confirmed.

Hamilton currently has a 19-point advantage in the drivers’ championship over team-mate Nico Rosberg, and says he will be aiming for damage limitation in Sunday’s race.

“I’ll do everything I can to minimise the impact it will have,” Hamilton said. “Otherwise beyond that penalty I plan to continue the momentum I had before the break.

“As far as I’m aware we will be taking a penalty this weekend, I don’t have any engines left.

“In terms of winning that is going to be very, very hard. Obviously the gap has closed between other cars. We’re in the third year of the evolution of these cars, Red Bull have been very quick in some of the races and the same with Ferrari and down the whole grid.

“So it’s going to be harder than it was last year and the year before to climb through the field, but I’ll do everything I can and it’s just about minimising the damage of taking the penalty.”

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