Lewis Hamilton to be slapped with penalty

Lewis Hamilton provisionally qualified in P3 for the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix, behind Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are set to be investigated by the FIA, following an incident during qualifying.

Hamilton entered the Eau Rouge/Raidillon section of Spa-Francorchamps ahead of Russell, before running wide.

The seven-time World Champion found himself off the racing line, something which then saw him cut across the kerb at the top of the hill.

He then rejoined the circuit back ahead of Russell, who also moved off the racing line.

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The incident itself didn’t look like much; however, it will be looked into by the stewards.

Should they escape a penalty, then Hamilton will start Sunday’s race from third, whilst Russell will start eighth.

Hamilton’s best lap in Q3 was a 1m 47.087, good enough for fourth.

However, following a five-place grid penalty for pole sitter Max Verstappen, the 103-time race winner will start from third.

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Staggeringly, Hamilton’s final lap in Q3 was almost a second slower than Verstappen’s, who was eight-tenths clear of the field.

Russell was 1.7s slower than Verstappen in the final part of qualifying, with him having only managed a 1m 47.805.

He was significantly slower than his team-mate concerningly, something which could be interesting to keep an eye on in Saturday’s sprint shootout.

Hamilton will be keen to avoid a penalty given how useful a second row start would be for the 38-year-old, who is still searching for his first victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Simply a podium finish would likely delight the British driver, who failed to finish in the top three at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, despite having started from pole position.

Russell on the other hand, will be looking to make significant progress in the race and move into the top five; however, he has some very quick cars ahead of him.

READ: Charles Leclerc warns against complaints if FIA cancels 2023 Belgian GP

The former Williams driver, who claimed his first F1 podium at Spa in 2021, qualified behind both McLaren drivers, who have proven to be difficult to get past.

Should he manage that test, then Russell will still need to get ahead of either a Ferrari, a Red Bull or his team-mate.

Mercedes’ strategy and the weather will be key to the 25-year-old having a strong race.