Formula 1 – Russian GP: Max Verstappen will start at the back of the grid, the Mercedes already in front
The engine of the Red Bull of the Dutch driver Max Verstappen will be changed before the Russian Grand Prix announced on Friday the team of the Dutch driver.
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Formula 1 world championship leader Max Verstappen (Red Bull) will start the Russian Grand Prix from last place on the grid on Sunday in Sochi due to an engine change. The 23-year-old Dutchman, who is five points ahead of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) in the driver standings, was already penalized three places on the grid for causing a collision with his rival in the previous round.
Taking everything into account, it was best to take the engine penalty here in Sochi. It will be a challenging race but so far I’m happy with today’s running and our work on the race set-up #KeepPushing #RussianGP pic.twitter.com/3ZUR4HePJW
– Max Verstappen (@ Max33Verstappen) September 24, 2021
The number of changes to the different elements of the single-seater powertrain is limited each season and any change beyond a certain number is automatically penalized. Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) is subject to the same penalty. In Sochi, Mercedes has been unbeaten since the first GP in 2014: Hamilton has won four times, leaving the other three victories to his teammates Nico Rosberg (2016) then Valtteri Bottas (2017 and 2020).
Finland’s Valtteri Bottas also dominated the two free practice sessions on Friday with a best time of 1’33.593 which places him 44 thousandths ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton and 252 thousandths ahead of Frenchman Pierre Gasly on his Alpha-Tauri.