Formula One: Verstappen handed five-place grid penalty at Italian GP

Red Bull's Max Verstappen in action during the first practice session ahead of the Italian grand prix. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MONZA, Italy - Max Verstappen has been hit with a five-place grid penalty for the Italian Grand Prix after exceeding his engine allocation, Formula One said on Friday.

Championship leader Verstappen was handed the punishment after taking his fifth engine of the season, damaging his chances of winning at Monza for the first time.

The Red Bull driver is, however, 109 points clear at the top of the drivers' standings and is red-hot favourite to claim his second straight world title.

He is one of six drivers to be hit with grid penalties alongside teammate Sergio Perez - who drops back 10 places for a similar offence - seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, Valtteri Bottas and Yuki Tsunoda.

Mercedes driver Hamilton will start from the back of the grid for a power unit change and other engine infractions, as will Tsunoda who after already being dropped back 10 places was hit with power unit sanctions.

Sainz was hit with a 25-place penalty for new gearbox components but will start in front of Hamilton and Tsunoda, while breaking engine rules leaves Bottas 15 places down. AFP

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