SHANGHAI (AP) — Mercedes has become used to starting on the front row after a dominant couple of years in Formula One. Not so much from the back of the field.
Nico Rosberg will take the team’s customary spot of pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, but defending world champion Lewis Hamilton will have to start from the last row after an early exit from qualifying due to a power unit problem.
Rosberg set a time of 1 minute, 35.402 seconds on Saturday despite using a harder tire than his rivals, qualifying a half-second ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in a surprise second place.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel qualified third and fourth, respectively, after misjudging the final hairpin turn on their last laps.
Hamilton had issues with his engine throughout the first segment of qualifying and, even though his team tried to repair the problem, he couldn’t set a timed lap.
The last time Hamilton started this far back on the grid was at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix when he qualified last after his engine caught fire. He worked his way through the field to finish third in that…