LEWIS Hamilton faces the handicap of a five-place grid penalty for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix due to a change of gearbox.
The situation immediately puts McLaren star Hamilton on the back foot for a race he has won twice in the last four years.
It also scuppers Hamilton's hopes of a hat-trick of poles for the first time in his Formula One career after taking top spot on the grid in the opening two races so far in Australia and Malaysia.
The 27-year-old could qualify on pole, but knows he would have to start from sixth at the Shanghai International Circuit, providing no issues occur for those ahead of him.
"The team only discovered there was an issue in the last 48 hours or something like that," said Hamilton.
"I don't know the absolute details as to what has happened, but it means we have to change. That's racing."
McLaren will use the old gearbox for tomorrow's practice sessions before changing it ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
Despite the issue, Hamilton claims it will not make a difference as to how he goes about his strategy for the weekend.
"It doesn't alter my approach at all. I'll approach it exactly the same," added Hamilton.
"I still have to qualify as high as possible, and then in the race, well I won from third last year, so now I just have to win from further back."