Lewis Hamilton already has a "steep mountain" to climb to catch Max Verstappen, who has a 19-point advantage in the 2021 Formula 1 Drivers' championship. To add to the Mercedes driver's problems, he is now looking at a five place grid penalty at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend owing to a potential engine change.

Mercedes are reportedly planning to replace the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) on Hamilton's car for the race in Sao Paulo this weekend, which will trigger an automatic five place grid drop for the race. As per F1 journalist Julianne Cerasoli, it is a precautionary measure after the team discovered a water pressure drop in the current engine at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

"Hamilton will change the combustion engine in Interlagos. Mercedes thought they had solved the problem they had, but they noticed a drop in water pressure during the Mexico race," Cerasoli wrote on Twitter.

Informação quentinha: #Hamilton vai trocar o motor a combustão em Interlagos. A Mercedes achava que tinha resolvido o problema que tinham, mas perceberam uma queda de pressão de água durante a corrida do México#F1

— Julianne Cerasoli (@jucerasoli) November 11, 2021

The grid penalty could prove to be costly for Mercedes and Hamilton, especially since red Bull Racing are again expected to be the favourites in Brazil owing to the high altitude nature of the circuit. The weather, however, could play a part during the weekend with rain expected at least on Friday and Saturday.

Hamilton was unsure about an engine change while speaking to reporters on Thursday. He remained coy suggesting that any decision on an ICE change will be made after the engineering meeting later in the day.

"I can't really comment at the moment," Hamilton told reporters, as quoted by the Daily Express. "I don't know. I don't think the engines have even arrived this morning. So as far as I'm aware currently, my engine is fine. But I'll find out obviously, later on. We've not even done engineering meeting yet."

Lewis Hamilton
Home comfort: Lewis Hamilton celebrates after finishing first in Friday qualifying at Silverstone LARS BARON/POOL

Hamilton is aware that overcoming the 19-point deficit will be hard with just four races remaining in the campaign. The seven-time world champion, however, made it clear that he will not give up and will push hard to reduce the deficit in Brazil, despite the Red Bull's coming in as the hot favourites to again take the win.

"We'll be pushing this weekend to see if we can squeeze any more out of the car. Last time here they were incredibly strong so we anticipate again they'll be very hard to beat this weekend but where there's a will there's a way," Hamilton said, as quoted on F1.com.

Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen is likely to increase his 12-point lead in the next two F1 races Zak Mauger/POOL