Lewis vows to overcome five-place penalty

 

Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton's bid for a third Chinese Grand Prix victory was rocked a little yesterday when it emerged that he will receive a five-place grid penalty in Sunday's race. Final inspection of his McLaren within the last 48 hours revealed that it will need a change of gearbox, which means that the 2008 and 2010 winner will at best start from sixth, if his recent form of setting the fastest qualifying lap continues.

"We have a gearbox issue and we will change it on Saturday morning so I will get the penalty, but hopefully we will be quick enough to still move forward," Hamilton said.

With updates on his McLaren MP4-27, which he and his team-mate, Jenson Button, believe will maintain its supremacy in qualifying, and the threat of Shanghai's notoriously light but persistent rain on raceday, Hamilton believes he can still have a strong chance of scoring his first victory of the 2012 season, after finishing third in the two opening races. He started both from pole position.

"We can still have a good weekend," Hamilton said. "I started from third last year here and won, and in the last race winner Fernando Alonso started quite far back, so anything is possible. I don't like starting at the back and not going anywhere but if you have a quick car, which we do, then we still have a fighting chance from wherever I have to start. I'll try to minimise the damage by trying to qualify as high as possible."

As the reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, winless thus far in 2012, reverts to an older-style exhaust system for the first practice session, in a bid to find the speed to put Red Bull back into their customary top slot, the Malaysian Grand Prix winner, Alonso, played down Ferrari's likely form.

"We'll be conducting some evaluation work between the two cars," said the Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner. "With testing not allowed during the season, Friday is the best opportunity to do some track testing and we are using the opportunity to look at an earlier iteration of exhaust and a further iteration of what we ran in Malaysia. Obviously we'll then look at the data and then draw our conclusions from there."

"We will struggle to get into Q3 on Saturday afternoon," said Alonso, of Ferrari's place in the pecking order, the Spaniard's opportunist win in Sepang notwithstanding. And team principal Stefano Domenicali echoed the sentiment when he admitted that they were still a second off the pace.

Meanwhile, after weeks of grumbling since the Australian Grand Prix in the middle of March, Lotus yesterday lodged a formal protest against the innovative DRS rear wing used by Mercedes. Ever since it raced in Melbourne, the FIA has insisted, via the technical delegate Charlie Whiting, that the Mercedes wing is legal, after careful explanation and examination of the underlying science behind it. And ever since then Lotus and Red Bull have grumbled about it.

This is the first time anyone has stumped up the money to launch a protest which will oblige the FIA to explain why the Mercedes rear wing does not contravene the part of the technical regulations which say that "with the exception of the parts necessary for the adjustment described in Article 3.15, any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamics of the car is prohibited".

When the driver activates the DRS (drag-reducing system) which stalls the rear wing and boosts maximum speed on the straight, it also opens up pipes which feed air forward through channels within the carbon fibre chassis to the underside of the front wing where it exits to achieve a similar stalling effect and thus further cuts drag and enhances straightline velocity. The system is more of an advantage in qualifying, where teams can use the DRS anywhere they like, than in the race, when it may only be activated in FIA-mandated zones.

Lotus and Mercedes representatives met with the FIA's engineers here yesterday, as the former lodged the €2,000 fee. The race stewards unanimously rejected Lotus's protest late last night, clearing the way for Mercedes to continue running their system.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam