Lewis Hamilton will start the Russian Grand Prix with a new gearbox. This makes him one of three drivers to make a gearbox change, alongside Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly . Max Verstappen also changes a large number of other engine parts.
Hamilton, Verstappen and Gasly will not receive a grid penalty for their gearbox change. Riders must do six consecutive races with their gearbox; if you change your box before that time, you will receive a five-place grid penalty. However, all three drivers manage to avoid this penalty. Gasly has indeed driven the six races with his box, and can therefore ‘just’ change his box.
Hamilton and Verstappen have not yet driven six races with their old gearbox. However, drivers who did not finish the previous race may change their gearbox without penalty. Both title rivals did not finish the previous race at Monza due to their crash in the Variante Rettifilo. Therefore, neither of them will be returned to the starting grid. Max Verstappen will start at the back anyway; he also replaces a number of other parts, for which he does receive a penalty.