Sir Lewis Hamilton’s third power unit has been sent for examination at Mercedes’ powertrains base in Brixworth, after his collision with Fernando Alonso at the Belgian Grand Prix has left the team concerned over potential damage to it.
Hamilton started the race from fourth and made an excellent start; the Brit was up to third on the run down to Eau Rouge after overtaking Sergio Pérez at the first corner.
The seven-time World Champion was then right in the slipstream of Fernando Alonso for second place down the Kemmel straight, before pulling to the outside of his former team-mate at Les Combes.
Hamilton swooped around the outside of the 41-year-old, but then cut across the Alpine F1 Team driver at the apex of the corner.
The pair collided, sending the rear of Hamilton’s W13 into the sky almost vertically, with the British driver performing somewhat of a nosedive as a result.
His W13 landed back on the circuit very heavily, with his team quickly informing him to stop the car.
Hamilton’s floor must have certainly been cracked, with questions now set to be asked as to whether Hamilton’s third power unit also suffered damage.
Alonso miraculously came out of the incident undamaged but did label the 37-year-old an “idiot”.
The Mercedes driver claimed full responsibility for the crash, which race direction deemed to be an opening lap race incident.
It could prove to be a costly one for Hamilton, though, as his third and final legal power unit was only fitted to his car at the Belgian Grand Prix.
It would’ve been used for the remaining races this season, with the team having been hopeful of avoiding an engine penalty.
A Mercedes spokesman confirmed to Motorsport.com that Hamilton’s V6 was “definitely a concern”, with its health now being questionable.
The Brit could use his other two power units; however, they have completed significant mileage and would put the Mercedes driver at serious risk of a power unit-based retirement.
Should a new one be fitted then the Brit would’ve exceeded his legal limit, resulting in a grid penalty.
The upcoming Italian Grand Prix would be a favourable place to take a penalty, due to its high speed and with overtaking being possible.