Russian GP: Red Bull facing grid penalties

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are braced for grid penalties at the Russian GP as the team revert to Renault's 'B-spec' engine.

Max Verstappen (right) and Daniel Ricciardo
Max Verstappen (right) and Daniel Ricciardo

Verstappen finished in second place at the Singapore GP when using Renault's 'C-spec' unit.

But McLaren and Renault themselves have both declined to run the new unit, which is more powerful but less reliable, and Verstappen was plagued by intermittent glitches throughout the Singapore weekend.

"We accepted the risks when we took this engine," admitted Red Bull boss Christian Horner. "It's delivered a bit more power, it's been a bit rough round the edges. But we did get the increase in power from it and that helped get on the front-row and achieve the second position."

Introducing new specs of the Renault 'B' units will trigger penalties for both Verstappen and Ricciardo. But Red Bull's reckoning is that it will be their best strategic play in order to challenge Ferrari and Mercedes later in the season at circuits which should be kinder to their package.

"We need to look at it but the likelihood is Sochi is an obvious place," said Horner. "Realistically Mexico is probably the only shot we have got left under normal circumstances [of beating Mercedes and Ferrari].

"Hopefully we can get a few more podiums in before the end of the year."

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