Hamilton set to start last in China after engine issue in qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton is set to start tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix from the back of the grid after an engine issue prevented him from setting a time in qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton arrived in China already on the back foot after Mercedes was forced into changing the gearbox on his car after the Bahrain Grand Prix, leaving him with a five place grid penalty.

A four-time winner in China, Hamilton hoped to make the best of the situation and fight for pole position on Saturday, only to report early in qualifying that his power unit had a problem.

A lengthy red flag period to allow the marshals to dry the track gave Mercedes time to try and resolve the issue before sending Hamilton back out when the session restarted.

However, the problem had not been resolved, with the loss of hybrid power leaving Hamilton severely down on power.

Mercedes brought Hamilton in and worked to try and find a ‘eureka’ fix moment, only to admit defeat with less than two minutes remaining in the session.

Classified P22 and with his five place grid penalty still in mind, Hamilton is all but certain to start Sunday’s race from the very back of the field.

The last time Hamilton failed to reach Q2 came at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix where he fought from the back of the field to finish third and beat Rosberg.

No driver has won the Chinese Grand Prix from lower than sixth on the grid, coming in 2006 when Michael Schumacher claimed his final grand prix victory.

The Chinese Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1:30am ET on Sunday.