Hamilton facing five-place grid penalty

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Austrian Grand Prix on the BBC
Venue: Red Bull Ring Date: 7-9 July
Coverage: Practice and qualifying on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra (online only), and race on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary, leaderboard and imagery on BBC Sport website and app.

Lewis Hamilton is facing a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix as a result of an unauthorised gearbox change.

Teams must run a gearbox for six consecutive events but Hamilton’s was changed before that period expired.

The penalty has not yet been confirmed but it is unavoidable after the matter was referred to stewards by officials.

It is a further blow to Hamilton’s attempts to close his championship deficit to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton is 14 points behind the German heading into Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring, having dropped two further points at the last race in Baku when he finished fifth, a place behind Vettel.

Hamilton was leading that race and was on course for victory but had to pit to have a loose head restraint fitted.

That was a significant blow because Vettel had been given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for dangerous driving after deliberately hitting Hamilton’s car.

Hamilton’s problem meant he returned to the track behind Vettel and was unable to pass.

More to follow.

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