Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2012

Hamilton to take five-place grid penalty in China

2012 Chinese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Sepang, 2012Lewis Hamilton’s run of pole positions is almost certain to end as he is set to be penalised five places on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton revealed on Thursday the team have had to change his gearbox for this weekend’s race.

Drivers are required to use the same gearbox for five consecutive races.

The McLaren driver started the first two races of the year from pole position.

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Chinese Grand Prix articles

Image ?é?® McLaren/Hoch Zwei

179 comments on “Hamilton to take five-place grid penalty in China”

Jump to comment page: 1 2
  1. The gearbox penalty was introduced in 2008. I did I search and found this page on the official F1 site:

    Mindful of the massive cost of these ultra high-tech powertrains, the FIA introduced new regulations in 2005 limiting each car to one engine per two Grand Prix weekends, with 10-place grid penalties for those breaking the rule. From 2008, a similar policy was applied to gearboxes, each having to last four race weekends. 2009 saw the introduction of even more stringent engine rules, with drivers limited to eight engines per season. On top of these measures, a freeze on engine development imposed at the end of the 2006 season means teams are unable to alter the fundamentals of their engines’ design.


  2. As I understand it the damage to the gearbox was identified 48 hours ago, it doesn’t mean the damage was done 48 hours ago. The damage could have been done in during the last race and only noticed recently – might even explain the mysterious drop off in Hamilton’s pace during the last race ?
    I for one would rather see Lewis start from the 3rd or 4th row with a new gearbox than pole and watch it go bang whilst leading the race.

    1. Could of overtorqued in one of the long pitstops in Malaysia?

    2. No it has not been done in the race, Hamilton is quoted by autosport: ”Hamilton said the damage to the gearbox was only picked up in last 48 hours.”

      1. “Picked up” can equally mean “discovered” and “acquired” in English. Hamilton’s statement is ambiguous.

      2. There are several meanings of the phrasal verb ‘to pick up’ (like with all phrasal verbs – my favourite ways of torturing my ESL students!), and being in the passive here without an identified agent does add to the ambiguity. On its own this sentence could mean that the damage was picked up in the sense of ‘accrued’ by the gearbox, however I think it clearly means that the damage was picked up in the sense of ‘noticed’ by the team.

      3. Akin,
        As others have said already it’s a safe bet to suggest what Hamilton meant by ‘picked up’ was that it was discovered within 48 hours. Whether it was ‘picked up’ just after Malaysia or just before China makes no difference – the penalty still applies.

  3. Gutted about this but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry.. I’m hoping for 3rd!

  4. If Hamilton ends up with the fastest time in qualifying, but then gets relegated to 6th…
    if the the HRTs are not within 107% of Hamilton’s time, but are within 107% of the 2nd fastest driver, would they qualify?
    Hamilton’s time would be the fastest, but not technically the ‘pole time’.
    Probably a pointless question, but any opinions?

    1. Georges10099
      12th April 2012, 11:45

      Its from the Q1 time, so as long as the teams are within 107% of the Q1 time it doesn’t matter what is set for pole :)

      1. Exactly. Hamilton’s penalty will only be applied from his final qualifying position. So the only way he will receive a five-place penalty in Q1 is if he finishes seventeenth.

  5. Probably a good thing for Lewis. His recent record of converting pole position to win hasn’t been that great. But China has been a good track for Lewis, so in the end with a decent car / DRS passing you may see him on the podium. As long as he doesn’t get stuck behind a Mercedes on that long straight.

    1. Different situation to Monza last year. Merc had gone for high top speed (as is the norm around Monza) but Hamilton had been geared shorter to be able to fight Vettel for the lead (better acceleration at expense of top speed) so when he was trying to get past Schumacher, he was bouncing off the limiter with DRS but only matching Schumacher’s speed. In China, Merc will be running higher downforce so their top speed will be minimally higher than McLaren’s (see Malaysia and Australia speed traps for evidence) and unless the Merc is less than 1s behind the car in front of them, they won’t get their “Super DRS” benefit. I think last year Hamilton did manage to sail past Schumacher with DRS quite easily.

  6. how its work with championship prediction on pole position over here on f1f?..when hamilton take pole it counts as a pole or its pole position holder after penalty?

    1. As mentioned above it is pole position after all penalties are applied. Pole sitter is the driver who is on pole come Sunday afternoon, not necessarily who was the fastest in Q3.


    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

    1. Brilliant!

  8. Im a big Mclaren fan, but the comment about somthing fishy in the Mclaren camp, makes you wonder. Closer to the weekend, no problems with the gearbox at last race, now knowing that it might rain, so why not let the Mclaren driver whos better in changeable conditions get the upper hand, and the fast one who might have some of his bad luck, fight a little bit further back for the rest of the points up for grabs. Hamilton just needs to work better with his tyres, and pray his badluck away, and he will be unstopable. Clearly the fastest guy, just not the whole package in terms of managing every aspect of the car in a race, but when he does……………..!

  9. So, it looks like its not clear enough that the FIA is not going to ban the Mercedes improved DRS functioning ducting. Not unexpected, but it seems there’s clarity now. Lets wait and see how long it will be before other teams test or even race their versions.
    As these things go, I would not even be really surprised to see this solution being written out of the rules for next year.

    Adam cooper has an interesting observation that is possibly more important for F1 in the long run though:

    Intriguingly the stewards added that the system had already been approved by the FIA whereas in the past approvals given by Charlie Whiting and/or technical delegate Jo Bauer have subsequently been overruled.

    As he writes that could well become very significant, as it would mean teams would then have a more reliable way of getting things cleared up front.

    1. Yeah no surprise…should be very interesting to see how things evolve now. I still say that if I’m the competing teams I’m looking to influence other things besides the front wing, like the rear diffuser…something that helps the car for the majority of all laps on race day, not just on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday only on the minority of those laps when within a second of the car in front at the DRS zone.

  10. I think this will be the acid test or Lewis after his troubles last year. He just needs to keep his cool…

    1. I hope it won’t be 2011 Lewis in race if he end up in midfield, when he was in midfield in 2010, he provided some decent entertainment.

  11. “almost certain” ?? sounds 100% certain to me….

  12. Getting pole and starting from pole are two different things.
    If Hamilton were to get the pole position and take the penalty, Button starting from Pole can’t claim it as his first pole for Mclaren or their 150th pole.
    So I believe the article may be somewhat flawed. As records will still show the pole lap of who ever sets the fastest time.
    The time is not erased, the car is only moved back.

    Anyway it may well be that Button is on pole himself.

  13. Let’s see now if Button steps up to the plate. I’m not so sure..

    1. What?

      Jenson has qualified second behind Lewis in both races so far, why should it be any different now Lewis has a grid drop penalty?

Jump to comment page: 1 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.