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Penalty for Verstappen, Kvyat to back of Russian GP grid

Penalty for Verstappen, Kvyat to back of Russian GP grid
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - September 21, 2019 Red Bull's Max Verstappen during qualifying REUTERS/Thomas Peter -
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SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Max Verstappen will have a five-place grid penalty and Daniil Kvyat will start his home Russian Formula One Grand Prix from the back of the field on Sunday as a result of power unit changes.

Honda said Kvyat and Toro Rosso team mate Pierre Gasly, along with Red Bull’s Verstappen and Alexander Albon would be given new engines for the race in Sochi.

“With a different replacement history, Kvyat is changing all (power unit) elements except the battery. He will start from the back of the grid,” the Japanese manufacturer said on its F1 Twitter account on Thursday.

“The other three will get five place grid penalties.”

The move ensures all four cars have fresher engines for Honda’s home race in Japan on Oct. 13, the next round after Russia.

Neither Red Bull-owned team have had drivers finish on the podium in Sochi, a track with both high speed straights and low speed corners.

Verstappen, winner of two races this season, is fourth in the championship but level on points with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

The pair are both 96 points behind Mercedes’ five times world champion Lewis Hamilton with six races remaining. Champions Mercedes have won every Russian Grand Prix since the first in 2014.

Kvyat is the only Russian driver on the starting grid.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)

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