Max Verstappen will start the Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid as a result of exceeding power unit components.
The Red Bull driver lost a power unit due to damage sustained in the crash at the British Grand Prix, meaning he would need to take a fourth engine at some stage in the season. Already with a three-place grid penalty from Monza, added to the performance of the Mercedes drivers in Russia and with an extremely wet qualifying session predicted that could mix up the grid, the team has opted to make the change this weekend.
Verstappen has taken a brand-new Honda power unit featuring all components, meaning he will have an extra component of the updated Energy Store available for the rest of the season. The punishment is being forced to start from the back of the grid, with Verstappen dropping behind Charles Leclerc — who has the same power unit penalty — as Leclerc took his penalty first.
Red Bull has taken the new power unit ahead of FP2, with it likely to be the only dry session left before the race due to a bad weather forecast for Saturday. Heavy rain is expected to fall from Friday night throughout the following day, with a chance qualifying will be pushed back to later on Saturday or even Sunday morning.
Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by five points in the drivers’ championship heading to Russia, where Mercedes has never been beaten since the race joined the calendar in 2014.