Penalty blow for Hamilton in China
Honda F1 website
Honda website

APRIL 14, 2016

Penalty blow for Hamilton in China

Nico Rosberg's bid to extend his winning streak to six races this weekend has got an early boost.

Mercedes confirmed early on Thursday that reigning champion Lewis Hamilton's silver car has undergone a gearbox change after Bahrain, where he was punted into a half-spin by Valtteri Bottas at the first corner.

"The gearbox sustained damage in Bahrain which required a physical inspection for full assessment," the team revealed.

"Having done so, the decision has been taken to change the gearbox rather than carry any risk moving forwards. To clarify, it will be a five-place grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton.

"If there's anyone who can fight back, though, it's him," Mercedes added on Twitter.

It is a major blow for Hamilton, who had hoped Shanghai would be the place for his first win of the season.

But despite the two defeats to Rosberg so far in 2016, the Briton is notably upbeat.

"People keep asking me if I'm worried," said Hamilton after Bahrain, "if there's a downward trend emerging. But I'm feeling the complete opposite."

According to the German news agency DPA, Rosberg agrees.

"Lewis is smart," he said. "It will not be a big problem for him to adjust to the situation."

As for whether the silver-clad pair will be troubled by Ferrari in China, however, is less clear. Mercedes insists it is looking over its shoulder, but Ferrari insider Leo Turrini suggested Shanghai will not suit the red car.

"Looking at Kimi Raikkonen's performance in Bahrain, Ferrari has shown to be very good but still a little below Mercedes," former F1 driver Johnny Herbert told the Spanish sports daily Marca.

"To evaluate where Lewis is is difficult because he has had problems, like with Bottas in which he had no fault.

"At the moment the leader is Rosberg, but it's true that we've only had two races. I was surprised when Lewis looked happy after Nico won again in Bahrain, so we'll see if that continues," Herbert added.

(GMM)

Other stories for APRIL 14, 2016

THURSDAY PRESS CONFERENCE

DRIVERS HELPED F1 AXE QUALIFYING

GROSJEAN SAYS HAAS CRITICS JEALOUS

NO PANIC AMID FERRARI PROBLEMS SAYS VETTEL

FIA LETS ALONSO TEST INJURIES ON FRIDAY

ALONSO WANTS TO TEST INJURIES IN PRACTICE

GRID PENALTY IS OPPORTUNITY SAYS HAMILTON

GEARBOX FAILURE RISK TOO HIGH SAYS MERCEDES

TROUBLED MALLYA TO ALSO MISS CHINA GP

ROSBERG HITS BACK AT WINDBAGS JIBE

PENALTY BLOW FOR HAMILTON IN CHINA

ALONSO STILL WAITING FOR GREEN LIGHT

BILLIONAIRE NOT BUYING INTO WILLIAMS

HERBERT SAYS ALONSO INCIDENT UPSET WIFE

JACKIE STEWART TELLS MERCEDES TO QUIT F1

RED BULL SHOULD SIGN SAINZ, NOT VERSTAPPEN SAYS HERBERT

ALLISON BACK TO WORK AFTER WIFE'S DEATH