Max Verstappen given five-place grid penalty for Belgian GP

Is the current Red Bull team their greatest-ever F1 team? (2:49)

Laurence Edmondson explains why he thinks the current Red Bull team is the greatest team they have ever assembled. (2:49)

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- Runaway championship leader Max Verstappen has been given a five-place grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Verstappen's Red Bull team has fitted a fifth gearbox to his car, one more than is allowed under the regulations before penalties are incurred.

That means the Dutchman, leading the drivers' championship by 110 points, will start Sunday's race five places lower than where he qualifies on Friday afternoon.

The penalty will have no impact on the sprint format on Saturday, which sees drivers qualify again for a shortened race which has a smaller amount of points on offer.

Verstappen has won nine of this year's 11 races -- including the last seven in a row -- but the penalty might raise hopes of an end to his streak.

However, Verstappen won last year's Belgian Grand Prix from 14th on the grid.

The dominant Red Bull seems especially suited to the Spa circuit, which is why the team has opted to take it at this race.

The penalty will increase the pressure on Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez to put the car on pole position.

Perez has failed to qualify higher than ninth since the Miami Grand Prix at the start of May.

Heavy rain is forecast for Friday's qualifying session and drivers have called on the sport's governing body, the FIA, to be brave enough to call off this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix if conditions become too dangerous.