Another body blow to Lewis Hamilton’s 2016 title hopes

Playboy and racing superhero Lewis Hamilton suffered another setback in his bid to win a third straight World Championship.

The British driver, who many consider to be the fastest driver on the planet, will lose five grid positions at the Chinese Grand Prix after Mercedes decided to replace the gearbox on his car ahead of this weekend’s race.

Under F1’s ridiculous rules that mean a gearbox must last six consecutive races, a compulsory five-place grid penalty awaits anyone who falls foul of the law. The penalty means Hamilton can start no higher than sixth on the grid. Given his abysmal starts in Australia and Bahrain, knowing where he’ll be after the first corner remains a lottery.

Hamilton has come under increasing pressure since the end of last season from teammate and pretty-boy Nico Rosberg, who has won the last five grands prix. Rosberg has finally asserted his intentions to win the championship after getting comfortably beaten by Hamilton for three straight seasons with Mercedes.

Rosberg has dominated Hamilton so far this season with wins in Australia and Bahrain.
Rosberg has dominated Hamilton so far this season with wins in Australia and Bahrain.

If Rosberg secures pole in Shanghai, it will be almost impossible for Hamilton to catch him as the Brit faces the dirty air of cars between him and Rosberg. With Pirelli tyres as sensitive as Drake, Hamilton will likely encounter major tyre-wear in his pursuit of the 30-year-old German.

Lewis Hamilton's title defence took another hit in China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton’s title defence took another hit in China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)