Grid penalties continue to rack up at Russian Grand Prix

Mark Scott
Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo garage. Sochi September 2021

Antonio Giovinazzi during the Formula 1 VTB Russian Grand Prix 2021, 15th round of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship from the Sochi Autodrom. Sochi September 2021

Antonio Giovinazzi is the latest driver to take a grid penalty at the Russian Grand Prix, dropping five places for a new gearbox fitted.

But, by Formula 1 grid logic, the Italian driver only actually drops one place from P15 to P16 as Valtteri Bottas, Nicholas Latifi, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen all have bigger penalties imposed.

Alfa Romeo’s actions have seemingly being triggered by Mercedes’ decision to take ‘the tactical opportunity to put another PU in the pool with Valtteri Bottas’ on Sunday morning.

In other words, send the Finn to the back of the grid and crucially ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and try be a nuisance to him all Sunday afternoon in Sochi, whether that is via holding up the Dutchman on the track or matching his strategy – perhaps even a combination of both.

With that latest penalty confirmed, Alfa Romeo could see that they could fit a fresh gearbox to Giovinazzi’s car at the expense of dropping just one place. A pretty good deal when you can get it.

Giovinazzi’s minor grid drop also moves Haas’ Nikita Mazepin into the lofty heights of P15.

The latest provisional grid for the Russian Grand Prix is as follows:

1 Lando Norris McLaren
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari
3 George Russell Williams
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine
7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo
14 Mick Schumacher Haas
15 Nikita Mazepin Haas
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo
17 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams
19 Charles Leclerc Ferrari
20 Max Verstappen Red Bull