Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko predicted the seven time world champion, Lewis Hamilton to take a grid penalty, which would put him at the back of grid of the Russian Grand Prix. There is no denying that the limit of three engines for a 22-grand prix Formula 1 calendar has made life extremely difficult for all the teams to avoid a grid penalty.
The most recent driver to take a grid penalty heading into the race on Sunday at Sochi was Max Verstappen. The Dutchman took his fourth power unit. Now Helmut Marko reckons Lewis Hamilton will replicate the same Red Bull’s strategy. To those who aee unaware, Hamilton will have a big opportunity to retake the lead in the Drivers’ Championship due to Verstappen’s grid penalty this weekend.
Helmut Marko on Lewis Hamilton
“With Turkey, Austin and Mexico, our circuits are coming up again. We assume that Mercedes will take the penalty there, for the same reasons as we did here in Sochi,” Helmut Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.
Marko explained that Red Bull wanted to test the new engine in dry conditions, which was why they fitted it in time for FP2 on Friday.
“We wanted to drive the new engine on a dry track,” said Marko. “The calibration takes a bit longer for us than for Mercedes. We didn’t want to do that in the rain.”
Lastly, the 78-years-old hopes for dry conditions on Sunday, so there is less risk for Verstappen when he tries to race through the field.
“On the one hand, Max can show his driving qualities in the rain,” concluded the Red Bull advisor. “On the other hand, in the rain there is a greater risk that someone will hit your car, or that you will not be able to overtake properly due to the spray.”