US GP: Max Verstappen becomes fourth F1 driver with grid penalty
Red Bull driver to drop 15 places and joins Hulkenberg, Vandoorne and debutant Hartley with engine grid penalties in Austin
By James Galloway in Austin
Last Updated: 30/10/17 12:42pm
Max Verstappen will start towards the back of the US GP grid after becoming the fourth driver to take a penalty for engine changes in Austin.
The Red Bull driver, who has finished first and second respectively in the last two races, has collected a 15-place demotion for the use of a sixth engine and MGU-H this season.
Verstappen joins Renault's Nico Hulkenberg (20 places), McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne (five places) and Toro Rosso debutant Brendon Hartley (25 places) in taking grid demotions.
It also means all three Renault-powered teams have one driver with a new engine this weekend.
Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo is expected to take a penalty at a later race, possibly Brazil.
Helmut Marko explained to Sky Sports News on Friday why Red Bull had decided to take one penalty this weekend.
"The reason is it's easier to overtake on this circuit and is in the best possible shape for Mexico," he said. "It's a circuit where our car was going well last year and Max likes the circuit.
"After this disastrous season, we are hoping for some more podiums for Max before the end of the season."
Of the four drivers with penalties, debutant Hartley's is the largest at 25 places after his car was fitted with a new engine (sixth of the season), MGU-H (sixth), energy store (fifth) and control electronics (fifth).
Hartley has taken over the Toro Rosso car and engine allocation used by Pierre Gasly at the last two races and Daniil Kvyat earlier in the season, despite the latter returning to the team this weekend. Kvyat is instead in the STR12 vacated by Carlos Sainz, who has joined Renault.
Hulkenberg, Sainz's new team-mate, picks up a 20-place grid drop for the use of a sixth MGU-H and fifth engine and turbocharger.
McLaren's Vandoorne, meanwhile, collects a five-place demotion for an eighth engine - four more than the permitted allocation. Both McLaren drivers have now used the same amount this season, the most in the field.
Verstappen had a new energy store and control electronics unit installed on his Red Bull for Friday practice, but neither triggered a penalty as they were fourth components of the season.
Provisional US GP starting grid
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2) Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
3) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
4) Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
5) Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
6) Esteban Ocon, Force India
7) Carlos Sainz, Renault
8) Fernando Alonso, McLaren
9) Sergio Perez, Force India
10) Felipe Massa, Williams
11) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso
12) Romain Grosjean, Haas
13) Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
14) Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren
15) Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber
16) Lance Stroll, Williams
17) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
18) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
19) Nico Hulkenberg, Renault
20) Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso