Five drivers hit with Japanese GP grid penalties

Kimi Raikkonen is the latest driver to be penalised in Japan after being handed a five-place grid drop for changing his gearbox.

The Finn crashed in Saturday’s final practice at the Suzuka circuit when he got it wrong at the second Degner, slid through the gravel and smacked the barrier.

Ferrari have confirmed that his gearbox was damaged in the crash meaning a five-place grid drop.

Fernando Alonso will start the Japanese Grand Prix from the back of the grid after the McLaren driver was hit with a 35-place penalty.

A hydraulic leak on Friday meant Honda were forced to change the power unit of Alonso’s car overnight.

The Spaniard’s pit crew broke the curfew after pulling an all-nighter to repair the car, while his McLaren has comfortably exceeded the four power unit replacements allowed during the season.

That saw Alonso hit with a huge grid penalty prior to FP3 taking place, where the 36-year-old was the eighth fastest on the track.

“Hard luck, had an unexpected engine change last night that will compromise again the GP, but an extreme team effort from the #14 crew working all night to have the car ready,” he wrote on Instagram.

“I will try my best and we will fight back.”

Alonso is among four drivers hit with grid penalties, with Jolyon Palmer, Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas also penalised.

Palmer has taken on his fifth internal combustion engine, and his sixth turbocharger and MGU-H to incur a 20-place penalty.

With new Renault engines going in for Sainz and Palmer, it is looking more and more likely than Red Bull will also need to change to a new power unit before the end of season, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen feeling the effects.

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