Lewis Hamilton admits he expects his championship leading Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg could have an 'easy' Chinese Grand Prix weekend following his grid penalty confirmation.

The reigning champion - who has started the first two races of the year from pole position - will drop five positions on the grid for the Shanghai event after Mercedes was forced to replace a gearbox that became damaged during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Another set-back for Hamilton having already ceded 17 points to team-mate Rosberg following compromised Bahrain and Australia, though he is refusing to entirely rule out a challenge from wherever he begins, he admits his key rival has the upper and.

"It is going to be an easy weekend for Nico," he said. "Most likely it will be an easier weekend for him. It doesn't mean I can't give him a good run for his money from wherever I start and it doesn't mean I can't win the race still, which is my thought process rather than damage limitation..

Regardless, Hamilton says he still sees this as an opportunity to relish the racing as he comes back through the order.

"I enjoy racing, so I love coming from the back. That's how I started and when I started racing we started last all the time because we had a crap car and that's all we could afford. I had to make do with what I had and that's what I grew up doing and that's what I loved doing.

"I didn't start in a top team at the front of the pack and that's what I love so much about my early days and the races where I have been further back. In fact the last couple of races being further back has been really exciting, so maybe that's why I'm in a good mood because I'm going to have a race with some people."