Max Verstappen switched to his fourth engine of the season in Russia, which resulted in a grid penalty. But rival Lewis Hamilton will also be next, according to Helmut Marko.
Red Bull chose to take the grid penalty for Max Verstappen at the Sochi Autodrom, a circuit on which Red Bull has never won. A third place normally seems to be the maximum achievable, even without a grid penalty. Now it’s up to Verstappen to drive a tight race and try to get a podium place and keep the damage as limited as possible.
Helmut Marko explains why the new Honda was installed before the start of the second free practice and not only on Saturday. “We wanted to drive on a dry track with the new engine. Calibration takes a bit longer with us than with Mercedes. We didn’t want to do it in the rain.”
The Austrian is late Auto Motor und Sport know that the real Red Bull tracks will open again and that he expects Lewis Hamilton to also face a grid penalty.
“With Turkey, Austin and Mexico, our circuits are coming up again. We assume Mercedes will take the penalty there, for the same reasons we did here in Sochi.”
Rain is a theme in Russia this weekend. Saturday is guaranteed to be soaking wet, but Sunday seems to be relatively dry for the time being. Marko seems to prefer that as well.
“On the one hand, Max can show his driving qualities in the rain. On the other hand, in the rain there is a greater risk that someone will hit your car or that you will not be able to overtake properly due to the spray.”
Verstappen defends a five-point lead over Hamilton. If the Mercedes driver wins the Grand Prix, he will take the lead in the World Cup anyway.