Russian Grand Prix: Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams hit with grid penalties

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen (left) and Alexander Albon
Verstappen (left) was joined by Albon at red Bull following the mid-season break

All four drivers from the Red Bull and Toro Rosso teams will be hit with grid penalties at the Russian Grand Prix.

Engine partner Honda has decided to fit all four cars with new engines to ensure they are in the best competitive shape for the subsequent race at its home in Japan.

In Sochi, Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly drop five places on the grid.

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat will start at the back for his home race on Sunday.

The penalties are all for exceeding the permitted number of engine parts for a season.

Kvyat's bigger penalty is because Honda is replacing five of the six constituent elements of his power-unit, the internal combustion engine, turbo, hybrid parts the MGU-K and MGU-H and console electronics. Only the battery on his car is not being replaced.

The cars of Verstappen, Albon and Gasly are being fitted only with new internal combustion engines, because their history of engine changes this season is different.

Verstappen said he was confident the grid drop would not affect his weekend too badly, especially as he expects Red Bull will struggle to out-qualify the Mercedes and Ferrari cars at Sochi.

"I don't think it's going to hurt us a lot around here," the Dutchman said. "It's only five places.

"Last year we started from the back [and] overtaking didn't seem like a big problem around here. Maybe the midfield teams are a bit more competitive this year but I think it should be all right.

"You might lose a little bit of time to the guys ahead but realistically speaking I think you would anyway qualify in fourth, fifth so it's not going to change a lot."

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