Albon and Latifi take grid penalties for Russian GP after gearbox changes
Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi’s respective afternoons in Sochi have become a little bit trickier after they were handed five-place grid penalties for gearbox changes ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Albon was at a loss to explain his lack of performance in qualifying, as he ended up slowest in Q3 and was set to start from 10th on the grid, eight paces behind team mate Max Verstappen, and 1.1 seconds down on the Dutchman's time.
“I’m not too sure what happened with Q3 so we need tonight to sit down and look at it with the engineers,” said Albon after qualifying.
“Q1 and Q2 felt ok and then everyone just seemed to make a jump in Q3 whereas we didn’t. It didn’t feel like we had much left in the car and my laps didn’t feel bad so there’s a bit of head scratching going on.”
Gearboxes are required to last at least six consecutive races. Any changes before that trigger an automatic five-place grid penalty, meaning Albon will now line up 15th.
Latifi, who qualified 19th for Williams, will suffer the same fate, dropping to 20th and last behind Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen after the British team also changed his gearbox.
During a data inspection post-qualifying, Williams found a problem with gearbox and opted to fit a fresh unit ahead of Sunday’s race.