Formula One: Hamilton handed five-place grid penalty for gearbox change

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Reigning F1 champ Lewis Hamilton was hit with a five-place grid penalty for this weekend's Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix after the team was forced to change the gearbox in his WO9 following Friday practice.

As of now, only two drivers have confirmed and publicly known contracts for the 2019 season.

The Red Bull adviser claimed that the Silver Arrows outfit had made a spectacular attempt to lure Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel to their team as future replacements for both Hamilton and Bottas.

The Brit is out of contract at the end of the season, but both he and Mercedes have insisted for some months that a new deal is close to being agreed.

"(Hamilton) will take a five-place penalty.

The key questions at this point are when will Hamilton sign his new contract, if at all, and will that new contract give him enough time to reach and potentially break those records before he retires? "I think it will be a tough weekend", Hamilton said.

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"The next contract is probably the most important one of my career", Hamilton told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Thursday, as quoted by Sky Sports.

"There is no rush and I will not be rushed into it". Hamilton is keen to see what changes are set to be enforced and how it affects the drivers and the teams before making a decision about the length of his new contract.

He said: "There could be an announcement, or there are discussions over what is happening in F1 moving forwards, so it is good to wait to hear that".

"It's quite a relaxed atmosphere for us because Mercedes know I'm committed to them and they've obviously expressed they're committed to me".

"I think the main thing for us today was to get the softer compounds to work, as with the supersoft we did pretty much the same time we had done with the softs, so that's the key thing for tomorrow". "I've never ever, since I've been with the team, gone and spoken to another team". Join the Beyond the Flag team!