The seven-time world champion, who is downgraded by 10 starting positions with his fourth engine – one more than allowed – finished four tenths ahead of championship competitor Max Verstappen.
Hamilton is one step ahead from two points to Verstappen in the race on Sunday to claim a record-breaking eighth world crown.
But the Briton will have to work hard to stay ahead of the championship after the news of his penalty broke out.
Hamilton will hope to get through the field like title rival Max Verstappen in the last race in Russia, where the Dutchman was thrown into the background because of a fourth engine.
However, Hamilton will avoid starting last as he only has the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and no full engine changes.
The first signs were encouraging for the 36-year-old after working in Istanbul Park – the place where he s won a seventh title – almost half a second faster than everyone else.
The predominantly white colors with a hint of red are a nod to the paintwork that was used when Richie Ginther won Honda’s first Formula 1 victory in 1965 at the Mexican Grand Prix.
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Honda is leaving Formula 1 at the end of the year and this weekend was set to be their home race in Suzuka, Japan, ahead of the event’s cancellation due to coronavirus restrictions.
The opening race took place under a clear blue sky , but the prognosis for the rest of the weekend is uncertain.
Lando Norris, the Brit who had his first win in Russia just under two laps 14 days ago, finished seventh.
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