Hulkenberg set to start Belgian GP from back of grid

Nico Hulkenberg is set to start from the back of the grid in the Belgian Grand Prix, the German poised to take an all-new power unit.

Hulkenberg set to start Belgian GP from back of grid

With Renault having admitted after the Hungarian Grand Prix that it expected Hulkenberg to need new parts that would incur a grid penalty, the team is ready to use the opportunity to give him a brand new Spec B power unit.

Hulkenberg has been out of sync with teammate Carlos Sainz ever since he suffered a turbo failure at the Austrian Grand Prix that also meant his engine was unusable again.

Although official confirmation of which new components Hulkenberg will take will only be made ahead of final free practice, the German said it was likely that there would be enough of a penalty to move him to the back of the grid.

"Probably yeah," he said, when asked if he was going to start last. "I think it is a bit TBC, but there might be something."

Hulkenberg said that starting at the back would make it impossible to make much of an impact on the top results, with Renault locked in a tight midfield battle for the constructors' championship.

"I think it is very hard, especially a track like here and Monza," he said. "I think probably two quite challenging weekends for us. If you start from the back of the grid, it obviously makes it more hard, so I don't know.

"I don't want to sound negative, let's see what happens and how it unfolds. We will try our best and our hardest."

Hulkenberg may not be the only one who will be starting at the back, as Valtteri Bottas may use the Belgian Grand Prix to take a penalty as well for an upgraded power unit.

The Finn said Mercedes will decide in the morning on whether or not to introduce an upgraded engine – which would push Bottas in to penalty territory.

"I think tomorrow morning we're going to know 100% with which engine we're going to start, and then we see depending on the situation," said Bottas.

"Obviously for me the situation is if I need to take a new engine there is going to be a penalty, that's something we'll find out tomorrow. I think in any case Spa would be one of the best places to take it, it's a track where you can overtake."

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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