Red Bull say they’re yet to have decided if they will be changing Max Verstappen’s power unit at the Russian Grand Prix after Honda confirmed he lost the use of his second internal combustion engine of the season.
Verstappen 51G impact during the British Grand Prix cos him his second ICE, with Red Bull fitting a third for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Drivers are only allowed three changes before they face a 10-place grid penalty, and with Verstappen’s three-place grid penalty for causing a collision to be taken in Sochi, Red Bull are weighing up their options of a further penalty.
“That hasn’t been decided yet. But I think in Sochi you can overtake pretty well,” stated Red Bull advisor Helmet Marko, speaking to F1 Insider.
Verstappen picked up the penalty after colliding with Hamilton for a second time this season, this time at the Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was exiting the pits on lap 26 of the race at Monza, slotting in side by side with the championship leader as they made their way to the famous first chicane at the Italian track.
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But disaster struck when the Dutchman bounced across the kerbs, with the Red Bull propelling into the air and landing down on the Mercedes, forcing both drivers into the gravel at turn one, ending both of their races.
Verstappen picked up a three-place grid penalty, which didn’t go down well with Marko at Red Bull.
“I don’t know whether it’s fair,” added Marko. “If you can see the exit in Silverstone, certainly not. But we’re now trying to make the best of it in Sochi. ”
“That hasn’t been decided yet. But I think in Sochi you can overtake pretty well.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner was also disappointed with the stewards’ decision but accepted the verdict.
“We are disappointed with the three-place grid penalty, but accept the stewards’ decision,” said Horner.
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“We felt what happened between Max and Lewis was a genuine racing incident.
“You can argue for both sides but ultimately it’s frustrating and disappointing to see both cars out of the race in what is proving to be an exciting championship.
“The main thing today is that the halo ultimately did its job and certainly this isn’t the way we intended to finish the race.
Verstappen still leads the way in the championship fight, heading to Russia with a five-point lead over Hamilton.
However, the 23-year-old was left perplexed with the penalty, claiming Hamilton “squeezed until there wasn’t room anymore”.
“We were racing for position today but you need two people to work together to make the corner and Lewis just kept squeezing until there wasn’t room anymore for two cars and that’s when we crashed,” said Verstappen, speaking after the race.
“When he exited the pits, he started to squeeze me going into Turn 1 so I had to use the green part of the track. It was very tight but there was room for me to go around the outside and then I was pushed onto the orange sausage kerb.
“I was there to try and race hard but fair. I don’t fully agree with the penalty as I believe it was a racing incident.
“It’s very unfortunate what happened today but we are both professionals and so we will move on.”