Hamilton slapped with race penalty

2012-04-12 14:21

SHANGHAI, China - Lewis Hamilton's hopes of hat-trick pole positions disappeared at the Chinese Grand Prix as McLaren reports he will collect a five place penalty on the starting grid for an unscheduled gearbox change.

The 2008 Formula 1 world champion has yet to win in 2012 despite starting the first two races in Australia and Malaysia on pole.

Hamilton won in China in 2011 and is the only driver to have won twice in Shanghai since the race was added to the calendar in 2004.

A spokesman said Hamilton would use the car's existing gearbox for the Friday practice (April 13) before having it switched out for Saturday (April 14).

Hamilton said: "It doesn't alter my approach at all. I'll approach it exactly the same. I still have to qualify as high as possible. And then in the race... well, I won from third last year so now I just have to win from further back."

The forced change, which incurs an automatic penalty, means McLaren will also be unable to lock out the front row for the third race in succession.

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