Penalised Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have taken on fresh gearboxes for this weekend’s Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.
Verstappen and Ricciardo have reverted to Renault’s B-Spec engine and the new components mean they must start at the back of the grid.
Their exact positions will be determined following Saturday’s qualifying session, with Toro Rosso pair Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley, along with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, also slapped with the same sanction.
Red Bull has opted to use the situation to its advantage by giving Verstappen and Ricciardo a fresh gearbox, with the subsequent five-place penalty effectively nullified.
Verstappen and Ricciardo finished third and fourth respectively during practice at the Sochi Autodrom, as Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas led the way.
“It was a good Friday for us, it’s better than expected to be third in FP2,” said Verstappen.
“Straight away the car was working well, the long runs were good and we seem to be in good shape.
“Overall, the performance of the car is pleasing, we just need to understand the tyres better and work out the plan for the race.
“It was good to be in the mix with Ferrari and so far we can’t really complain.”
Added Ricciardo: “The car felt good today and I really enjoyed driving. The circuit was actually good fun and we had pretty good pace.
“We got some traffic on the long runs this afternoon which gave us some feeling of how it will be in the race.
“It’s not the easiest track to overtake on, but we eventually got it done, so I think the race should be pretty entertaining.
“I’m happy to see there is some tyre degradation, if it’s an easy one-stop race it could be a bit predictable, so I’m hoping it could be a two-stop to make it more exciting
“Russia has never been our strongest circuit but today there are some good signs.”