Verstappen hopes set-up changes will aid fightback in F1 Russian GP

Max Verstappen hopes set-up tweaks made to his car following Friday's practice running in Sochi will aid his recovery through the Formula 1 field in the Russian Grand Prix.

Verstappen hopes set-up changes will aid fightback in F1 Russian GP

Red Bull revealed on Friday afternoon that it had fitted Verstappen's car with an all-new power unit, triggering a penalty that meant the Dutchman would start at the back of the grid.

Verstappen will start last after failing to set a time in qualifying on Saturday. He will be joined at the back of the field by Valtteri Bottas, Nicholas Latifi and Charles Leclerc, all of whom are also taking engine penalties.

Verstappen said on Thursday that he thought it would be trickier to fight back through the field than in 2018 when he also took an engine penalty.

In practice on Friday, Verstappen was heard complaining over team radio that it was difficult to pass cars due to the top speed of his car.

But Verstappen downplayed his Friday struggles, and revealed that tweaks had been made to the set-up of his Red Bull RB16B ahead of qualifying to try and aid his recovery.

"Yesterday was not fully representative," Verstappen said after qualifying.

"Some people turned up the power or had lower fuel, so I wasn't too worried about that.

"But yeah, we made a few changes, and I'm confident for tomorrow that we made the right changes.

"Still, it's going to be quite tricky to pass."

Verstappen heads into Sunday's race leading Lewis Hamilton by five points at the top of the F1 drivers' championship.

Verstappen was unsure how far up the field he would be able to fight, saying it would largely hinge on the opening lap and any incidents for the lead runners.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

"It all depends also on the first lap or things that happen during the race," Verstappen said.

"Of course I'll try to score points, but I need a bit of help of course with things going, let's say, a bit wrong in the front. But let's see."

Hamilton will start the race from fourth place on the grid, and his bid to reclaim the lead of the standings will be aided by Mercedes teammate Bottas, who is set for a tactical grid penalty.

Mercedes and Red Bull have been neck-and-neck for outright performance through much of this season, but Verstappen felt Mercedes was a step ahead in Sochi.

"It was a little bit difficult [to judge in practice] but they still looked very strong," Verstappen said.

"Like I said, I made a few changes to the car, so I hope that will help a bit as well, and of course they all turned up their engines in FP2 for a fast lap.

"From my side, I knew that I was starting in the back, so there was no reason to do that. I guess we'll have to wait and see how competitive we are going to be.

"Of course I think they are a little bit faster in qualifying than in the race, what they have or what they can extract from it, but that's OK."

shares
comments

Related video

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

Previous article

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

Next article

Hamilton: Wait for 100th F1 win "taking longer than ever"

Hamilton: Wait for 100th F1 win "taking longer than ever"
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021