Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton will start Formula 1 China Grand Prix from the last row after power unit problems in today’s qualifications. Hamilton was the first to hit the track in Q1 session but reported problems after completing first lap. He returned to the track at Shanghai International circuit after pit stop only to retire shortly after that. Hamilton was already given a penalty for gear box change so even if he topped qualification session he would launch from the sixth position in the main event. Hamilton finished Chinese Grand Prix on podium in previous six years – he would need a small miracle to do that on Sunday.
This gives chance to Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to increase the lead in general classifications in third race of 2016 Formula 1 season after winning first two events this year in Australia and Bahrain. With qualifications reverted to old format due to teams and drivers request Rosberg was fastest in Saturday’s rainy qualifying session and claimed the pole position which would give him undivided attention of his team with Hamilton in the last row. His main rivals tomorrow will be Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel who will launch from third and fourth spot on the grid while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will join Rosberg in the front row. Williams’ Valteri Bottas will start from the fifth while second Red Bull with Danil Kvyat finished qualifications at sixth place.
Going into Sunday’s third race of the season, Nico Rosberg leads the Drivers’ Championship with 50 points, Lewis Hamilton is second with 33 points while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is third with 24 points. In the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes holds the lead with 83 points while Ferrari with 33 and Red Bull with 30 are behind them.
Chinese Grand Prix is held at Shanghai International Circuit with 5.45 kilometers long lap and 16 turns. The track is famous by its long straight, the longest in the Formula 1 calendar where F1 cars reaches speed of over 300 km/h. Due to high speeds on this track tires management is always crucial at this Grand Prix and tyre supplier Pirelli has brought its medium, soft and supersoft compounds for this weekend.
Looking at the weather forecast, rain hit Saturday’s qualifying session but Sunday’s race is expected to be a dry event. Race starts at 14:00 local time (08:00 CET).