|© AP Photo/Yves Logghe
Nico Rosberg became the second driver to be handed a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix for an unscheduled gearbox change.
The German lost drive in his Mercedes after just five laps during the third and final practice session on Saturday forcing him to pull out of the session indicating that the issue emerged then.
Regulations state that the gearbox should last for five successive races before it is allowed to be changed sans penalty. Red Bull's Mark Webber too will be serving a five-place grid penalty for similar reasons.
Rosberg completed a total of just 22 laps in the three practice runs ahead of qualifying after Friday’s outings were interrupted by incessant rain.
The 27-year-old however failed to limit the damage after he qualified in a lowly 18th place, and will start the race from 23rd on the grid, with team principal Ross Brawn admitting that the driver "didn’t have much of a chance" pointing out to the sparse track time ahead of the session.
"This weekend isn’t really running to plan so far. Starting from the back of the grid is really disappointing, although I had no chance to prepare my car due to the gearbox problem this morning," Rosberg said. "So it took a bit of a time to find the right set-up in qualifying and it didn’t work out well at the end.
"I hope I can gain some positions in the race but I’m not overly optimistic as our car is not one of the quickest on this track. I will definitely push hard," he added.
Teammate Michael Schumacher too vouched for the lack of pace in the car after he qualified in a disappointing 13th place.