Lewis Hamilton will take a five-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix after fitting a fresh Formula 1 power unit.

Mercedes has faced reliability issues in recent months that has resulted in both its race drivers and engine customer teams taking grid drops.

Hamilton previously took a new engine at last month’s Turkish Grand Prix, leading to a 10-place grid penalty, that the seven-time world champion hoped it would be the only occasion he would have to swap power unit’s.

But just as first practice began on Friday at Interlagos, it was confirmed Hamilton had taken on a new internal combustion engine [ICE], his fifth of the season.

Having been fastest in qualifying at Istanbul, Hamilton only managed to recover to fifth place in wet conditions, losing crucial points in his championship battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Now he has exceeded his engine allocation for a second time, Hamilton’s title hopes have suffered a further setback after defeat to Verstappen in Mexico last weekend.

Victory in the past two races has seen Verstappen open up a 19-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ standings with four races remaining.

The Dutch driver won when F1 last visited Brazil back in 2019, and Red Bull is tipped to carry over its dominant form from Mexico.

Hamilton’s penalty will be applied for Sunday’s Grand Prix, meaning it won’t affect his grid slot for tomorrows’s sprint event where the grid is set from Friday’s qualifying session.