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Verstappen starts Russian GP at back of grid

Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen will start the Russian Grand Prix from the back of the grid as penalty for an engine change.

The team announced the Dutch driver would take the hit in Sochi on Sunday where he was already facing a three-place grid penalty.

That sanction stems from an incident in the last race in Monza where he was found “predominantly” to blame for a crash with Lewis Hamilton.

That latest incident between the title challengers put both out of the race after Verstappen’s car landed on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Hamilton paid tribute to his car’s halo safety device for saving his life.

Joining Verstappen at the back of Sunday’s grid is Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, also for an engine change.

Daniel Ricciardo skipped Friday’s afternoon second practice session as McLaren changed parts of his car’s engine after an issue with the existing one. By swopping it with one already used this season the Australian escapes a penalty.

Verstappen leads Hamilton by five points in the championship but could have his work cut out at a circuit where Hamilton has won four times and is seeking his 100th victory. 

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