Lewis Hamilton’s bid to score a good run in much anticipated Chinese Grand Prix has taken a significant hit after he was penalized with a five-place grid penalty because of gearbox change.
The four-time F1 world champion has taken on a new gearbox for the third round of the championship in Shanghai circuit in China following damage it sustained at the recent Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Mercedes F1 team has decided on a replacement after they discovered that the world champion’s gearbox had sustained damage from the recent race.
Following inspection of the unit in China on Wednesday, the team decided to replace it rather than an attempt made to try to get it through another race weekend.
Mercedes could have attempted to make it through another race with the old damaged gearbox, but a Mercedes spokesman said that the Shanghai circuit is the best venue for overtaking and that the overall impact of the grid penalty is judged to be less here in Shanghai circuit.
“This is the best circuit to do so in the first six race cycle as overtaking is easier here compared to the coming tracks, so the overall impact of the grid penalty is judged to be less here in Shanghai,” the Mercedes spokesman said in a statement, via the Motorsport.
Under the FIA rules, F1 drivers have to use a single gearbox for six successive races, which means that the highest grid position Hamilton can now hope for on Sunday’s race is sixth.
The 31-year-old Mercedes driver has won in Shanghai for the past two seasons, but he will face a tough challenge to extend that run into a third year. Hamilton has started both grands prix, the Australian Grand Prix and Bahrain Grand Prix, so far in 2016 on pole positions, but Hamilton’s races were blighted by poor start which resulted in him fighting back through the field to finish just second in Australia and then third in Bahrain Grand Prix.
And following his five-place grid penalty, Hamilton, who dined out with teammate Nico Rosberg, will be left with more of the same on Sunday. Hamilton is 17 points adrift of Mercedes team-mate and his only serious rival for the F1 world championship this year, Nico Rosberg.
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