Max Verstappen will start Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix from the back of the grid.

The championship leader, who is 80 points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, is expected to have a new engine in the rear of Red Bull, which will demote him to the rear.

Ferrari driver Leclerc is also believed to be considering an engine change ahead of Sunday’s round.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc leads Max Verstappen by 80 points (Olivier Matthys/AP)

Verstappen and Leclerc hope the high-speed nature of the Spa-Francorchamps track will provide them with a fighting chance in the field.

An impending penalty is a boost for Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team as the seven-time world champion looks to claim his first win of the campaign.

Hamilton headed into summer shutdown after five straight podium finishes, including back-to-back runner-up finishes at recent rounds in France and Hungary.

Mercedes also has an upgraded front wing, rear wing and floor for the start of the second half of the campaign.

Lewis Hamilton hasn’t won a race this season (Bradley Collier/PA)

Asked before Sunday’s round if he felt he was close to winning, Hamilton, 37, said: We have been improving and have been consistent in recent races. Together the team is making great progress and we continue to push.

“The car has become more like a racing car, not where it was at the beginning of the year. [Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell finished third] It was the best show ever.

“It was a huge boost to be able to close that gap. increase.”

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