Max Verstappen to start Russian Grand Prix at the back of the grid after engine change

Max Verstappen is leading Lewis Hamilton by five points

Max Verstappen will start the Russian Grand Prix at the back of the grid after Red Bull decided to change the Dutchman’s engine.

Verstappen had already been handed a three-place grid penalty following his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago and Red Bull opted to take a fresh power unit following the opening practice session in Sochi on Friday.

Verstappen was set to be forced into a change of engine over the closing stages of the season due to his crash at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, in which he suffered serious damage to his car after hitting the wall following another collision with Hamilton.

The 23-year-old leads Hamilton by five points with eight races of the season remaining.

Mercedes have won the last seven races to be held at Sochi and are expected to be fast yet again this weekend.

Verstappen will start behind Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who has also taken an engine penalty ahead of Sunday’s race.

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