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Grid penalty for Hamilton after gearbox change

  • Published on 14 Apr 2016 08:27
  • comments 8
  • By: Rob Veenstra

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)

Replies (8)

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  • Too bad it isn't a complete engine blow up, wait maybe that can happen in the qualifying. The world would gladly like to place an order for 2 Merc engine blow ups please, thanks.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2016 - 11:21
  • f1dave

    Posts: 782

    Giving grid penalties to drivers makes a joke out of the championship. If an equipment failure occurs then the constructor is at fault and needs points deducted but NOT the driver. For the upcoming Chinese race both Vettel and Hamilton have been given these penalties which means if Rosberg wins it will not be because of his driving skill but because the others were at a disadvantage.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2016 - 15:50
    • Pompey

      Posts: 84

      That is the best penalty suggestion I've heard Dave. Why are drivers penalised for something outside of their control? The constructor should take the pain for equipment failure, but how do you penalise a team with no points to lose?

      • + 0
      • Apr 14 2016 - 17:43
  • khasmir

    Posts: 893

    "Each driver may use no more than one gearbox for six consecutive events."
    Silly rules, why don't they just put a limit on the number of gearboxes you can use during the season like with the PU components? Maybe Merc could have salvaged the gearbox, now it's a write-off. This again increases the costs.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2016 - 18:55
    • Not necessarily, they can always use it for a later event, but I agree, the rule is stupid and needs to be rewritten. And I can also think they should change the current engine regulation so that teams may use 30 new engine parts without penalty instead of 5 of each 6 components. The total amount would be the same as it is now, but teams would be able to freely choose which bits they need to replace without risking a penalty.

      • + 0
      • Apr 14 2016 - 19:49
  • RacetoWin

    Posts: 95

    hamilton should have had is time removed in Q3 for exceeding track limits,
    hamilton should have had a penalty for turning into bottas who was right beside him.
    who is the marshall making these non calls? is it bernie?

    F1 is a joke for punishing the wrong drivers. hamilton can do whatever he wants and it takes a team issue to give him a penalty.

    • + 1
    • Apr 14 2016 - 20:08
    • Damn right, merc divas especially that clown boy gets all the leeway

      • + 0
      • Apr 15 2016 - 02:45
  • f1dave

    Posts: 782

    Enforcing track limits are based on what Charlie Whiting had for breakfast. That's my observation after years of watching F1.

    • + 0
    • Apr 15 2016 - 01:02

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