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Russian GP | Mercedes Rules In Russia And Verstappen Will Start Last

Max Verstappen arrived in Russia with a three-position grid penalty for the accident with Hamilton at Monza. And knowing that Sochi is Mercedes 'territory', which has never had opposition here since 2014, Red Bull has opted for a strategy for the future and has decided to mount a new power unit this weekend, which will relegate the Dutch driver to the background. off the grid at Sunday's race. An opportunity for Lewis Hamilton , who is five points behind the leader and who today placed second in the first two free runs, dominated by his teammate Valtteri.

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Red Bull has confirmed that Verstappen has mounted his fourth power unit (changing all the elements), assuming that the penalty would come but here in future races for using a fourth engine. Sochi is a speed circuit where it is not impossible to overtake, and those from Milton Keynes have played it with a change that will allow them to face the eight races ahead with a fresh engine.

It may also happen to Hamilton that in the next few races he has to pull the engine again and receive the pertinent sanction. And the same happens in Russia to Charles Leclerc, since Ferrari chose this Thursday to install a new power unit that will penalize the Monegasque this Sunday.

Mercedes rules the first day

This Friday, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton started at the front in the first two free practice sessions. In the afternoon, with 33rd on the track, Bottas lowered his own record to lead the session with a time of 1'33''593, followed by Hamilton (1'33''637). Verstappen had to settle for sixth place, more than a second (01'028) behind the best Mercedes.

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The Dutch driver has preceded Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) in the classification. An Antonio Giovinazzi accident caused the first red flag of the Grand Prix due to an accident at the exit of Turn 9, and when the action on the track resumed, with 16 minutes to go, the teams were already focused on the simulations of race, so the timesheets have not improved.

Classification of Free Practice 2 of the Russian Grand Prix

1. Valtteri Bottas (FIN / Mercedes): 1: 33.593

2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR / Mercedes): 1: 33.637

3. Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri): 1: 33.845

4. Lando Norris GBR / McLaren): 1: 34.154

5. Esteban Ocon (FRA / Alpine): 1: 34.402

6. Max Verstappen (HOL / Red Bull): 1: 34.621

7. Carlos Sainz (ESP / Ferrari): 1: 34.678

8. Fernando Alonso (ESP / Alpine): 1: 34.762

9. Sebastian Vettel (ALE / Aston Martin): 1: 34.837

10. Charles Leclerc (MON / Ferrari): 1: 34.925

11. Sergio Pérez (MEX / Red Bull): 1: 34.938

12. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN / Alfa Romeo): 1: 35.052

13. George Russell (GBR / Williams): 1: 35.094

14. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA / Alfa Romeo): 1: 35.178

15. Lance Stroll (CAN / Aston Martin): 1: 35.334

16. Nicholas Latifi (CAN / Williams): 1: 35.411

17. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / McLaren): 1: 35.630

18. Yuki Tsunoda (JAP / AlphaTuari): 1: 35.954

19. Nikita Mazepin (RUS / Haas): 1: 36.099

20. Mick Schumacher (ALE / Haas): 1: 36.230

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