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Hamilton to start Chinese Grand Prix on back row

World champion Lewis Hamilton stands in the pits during the third practice session at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 16, 2016
AFP

Shanghai (AFP) – World champion Lewis Hamilton will start the Chinese Grand Prix from the back of the grid after suffering mechanical trouble in Saturday’s qualifying.

The Briton, who watched Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg win the season’s first two races, reported a problem with his power unit before qualifying was halted just three minutes in after Pascal Wehrlein’s Manor crashed into a wall.

Hamilton, who has won a record four times in Shanghai including the last two years, had already been hit with a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race after a gearbox change.

His hopes of preventing fierce rival Rosberg extending his championship lead from 17 points now look forlorn.

“I’m sure the guys are as gutted as I am,” Hamilton told Sky News. “We’ve got to try and figure out the issue and make sure it never happens again.

“You can overtake here,” he added. “The tyres won’t last as well. I’ll give it everything I’ve got.”

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