Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Carlos Sainz to be penalised

Charles Leclerc has already faced a grid penalty this season for using an illegal set of control electronics.

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Carlos Sainz are all at risk of a grid penalty in one of the upcoming races, with all three drivers’ cars having been fitted with their second of two legal sets of control electronics and energy stores for this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.

With this weekend representing the fifth round of the 2023 F1 season, it’s certainly far from ideal for the trio to have already fitted their second set of each, especially given that there are still 19 races to be completed (including Sunday).

Sainz’s Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc has already taken a grid penalty this season for going beyond his legal number of control electronics, after both of the Monegasque’s sets failed at the season-opener.

Leclerc ultimately took a 10-place grid penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, meaning both Mercedes drivers and Sainz are facing a similar prospect in a few races’ time.

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Should their new control electronics and energy stores last as long as their first set, then the three drivers will likely face a grid penalty in either Canada or Austria, unless they return to their first set of each.

Red Bull on top again

Both Mercedes and Ferrari look up against it this weekend at the Miami International Autodrome, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen in particular looking mighty.

The reigning World Champion went quickest in Free Practice 2 by almost four-tenths of a second, from Sainz and Leclerc.

Mercedes’ opening session of the weekend was considerably better than their second, with Russell having topped Free Practice 1 from Hamilton.

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However, following FP2, Russell ended the opening day in a concerning 15th and 1.2 seconds off the pace, whilst Hamilton was seventh and just under a second behind Verstappen’s leading time.

Ferrari do appear to have a chance of a podium on Sunday, given that Sainz and Leclerc both finished FP2 ahead of Sergio Perez.

For Mercedes, simply finishing in the top five looks set to be an almighty challenge, whilst Russell perhaps faces the prospect of being eliminated in Q2 for the second consecutive Grand Prix of the season, after qualifying 11th at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.