Lewis Hamilton has been hit with a five place grid penalty ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.This now means the highest the world champion can start on the grid is sixth or even further behind.
The world champion has won four times in Shanghai, including the last two renewals from pole position, but will have to do it the hard way this time around if he is to make in roads into team-mate Nico Rosberg’s 17-point advantage in the championship race and he knows it’ll be a tough task.”This weekend is going to be tough,’ Hamilton posted on Instagram alongside a picture of him meeting fans in China”. “I will start with a five-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change but because of you guys I feel energised, motivated, and confident that we can regain ground lost”.
Hamilton has become unusually accustomed to being on the back foot this season with slow starts in the season’s opening two races in Australia and Bahrain – where he collided with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas at the first corner – costing him dearly.
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Mercedes have taken the decision to replace his gearbox now in the hope that the Shanghai International Circuit’s better overtaking opportunities compared to upcoming races will allow him to make up places quickly.On twitter,they wrote “The gearbox of [Hamilton’s] F1 W07 Hybrid sustained damage in Bahrain which required a physical inspection for full assessment,Having done so, the decision has been taken to change the gearbox rather than carry any risk moving forwards. Of the next 4 tracks in the normal cycle, Shanghai is the best place to make the change and take the resulting grid penalty”.
In other news, Fernando Alonso has been decleared fit for the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend. The Spaniard was given the initial green light by the FIA medical team after undergoing a thorough examination having been forced to sit out in Bahrain following his huge crash in Australia.Alonso suffered lung and rib injuries in the crash Down Under but tests after Friday’s laps could allow him to participate in the main Shanghai event.if he is given the go ahead he will be looking to secure his third victory at the Shanghai-track, with rival Lewis Hamilton the only driver to have won more times at the circuit.
Alonso said he had no doubt he was fit and ready for the third round of the championship.feel good,’ Alonso said. ‘Obviously Bahrain, I was mentally 100 per cent ready to race, but physically I had a lot of pain. In Bahrain I was ready to try and see if the pain was manageable with the broken rib.’Now, the situation has improved a lot. I am mentally 120 per cent now, but physically 100 per cent with no pain in the last couple of days. I have been training more or less my normal routine in the past two weeks. ‘I slept okay for the past two weeks which was quite a good thing because in the first 10 days after Australia I could only sleep on one side and that was not very comfortable.’ He was replaced in Bahrain by Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren’s reserve driver, who out-qualified Jenson Button before scoring the team’s first point of the season after he crossed the line in 10th.Alonso said: ‘Stoffel did a great job in Bahrain and although Jenson suffered reliability issues, it was positive to see that both cars ran quite strongly during the weekend.it was also interesting for me to see the race weekend unfold from a different perspective, which helped me to understand everything that goes into getting the cars on track and learn a lot about the different processes, although I’d still prefer to be racing.I’ve always enjoyed driving in China – I’ve won there twice before – and I hope we’ll be able to have some good battles on track and see more progress this weekend.’