- Honda confirmed on Thursday morning that all four of its cars would be taking engine-related grid penalties in Sochi. Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon will join Toro Rosso drivers Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat in taking a fresh ICE for this weekend, triggering a five-place grid drop. Kvyat will start his home race at the back of the grid in order to take a complete new power unit.

- Verstappen said he doubted the penalty would hurt Red Bull too much, having fought back from a drop in Russia last year, with the benefit being assurance of a fresh engine for Honda’s home race in Japan next month where the team will hope to challenge for victory.

- Verstappen confirmed on Thursday that he has no involvement in deciding who his teammate will be for 2020 as Red Bull deliberates between Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly. Verstappen praised Gasly’s recent form at Toro Rosso, but stressed he did not mind who landed the seat next to him: “I don’t mind who is sitting next to me. [Horner and Marko] are the bosses, so they decide. I’m not a deciding factor in that.”

- Charles Leclerc was in a reflective mood following his defeat to Sebastian Vettel in Singapore last Sunday, admitting that he had overreacted to Ferrari’s strategy call over team radio. “I just need to control myself more in these situations, and, how can I say it politely… just shut up!" said Leclerc, saying that he hoped to learn from the episode and avoid a repeat in the future.

- Vettel was sympathetic to Leclerc’s outburst. “I think it’s pretty normal and obviously he wanted to win,” Vettel said. “He was upset when he realised he was behind, which if it was the other way around I probably would have been equally as upset. It’s part of the emotions that run through you when you are racing.”

- Vettel took heart from Ferrari’s display in Singapore, believing it will put the team in good stead at the remaining tracks this year. “Certainly it gave us a lot of confidence because Singapore was not expected to be that strong,” he said. “The new parts worked really well and seemed to give us an edge, so hopefully we can come here and be equally strong in terms of fighting for pole and hopefully in the race as well. I definitely believe there are things we can and must do better, but it was a good step.”

- Asked about his somewhat understated celebrations over team radio in Singapore, Vettel revealed that he initially forgot to turn his radio on to talk to the Ferrari team. “I opened the radio a bit later,” he said. “I did most of it in Italian. I don’t know how much they show. Some people before the weekend said what song will you sing if you win and I couldn’t think of a song, maybe that’s why. I was still in my thoughts, thinking of a song!”

- Strategy was also a talking point for the Mercedes drivers after Valtteri Bottas was told to slow down in order to aid Lewis Hamilton’s race in Singapore and avoid undercutting him. Bottas said he would work to ensure he would not be in such a position again: “We have certain rules both ways, and they are equal. I just need to make sure I won't be in that situation again.”

- Hamilton sits 65 points clear in the drivers’ championship with 150 to play for, but said he did not expect to receive any help from Bottas across the garage even in the face of a heightened threat from Ferrari, having done so at last year’s Russian Grand Prix. ““It’s just never been my philosophy,” Hamilton said. “I want to do the job on my own. That’s never what I’ve asked for and even looking back at last year, I hated that experience and wished that I wasn’t in that position.”

- Hamilton did however concede Mercedes may not be the favourite at any of the remaining seven tracks this year, citing Ferrari’s straight-line speed advantage as being a big benefit in Sochi. “I don’t think we’re going to be favourites at any of the next six races, but it doesn’t mean we can’t win,” Hamilton said. “I think if we get the car in the right position for qualifying and enable ourselves to qualify in the right position, I think we generally have been stronger in most of the race trims.”

- Further chat about the possibility of a reverse grid qualifying race for F1 in 2020 led to more pushback from drivers, with Hamilton being the most vocal critic. “The fact that now they are trying the reverse grid and all that feels like an excuse for not doing a good enough job,” he said in relation to the rule changes for 2021. “I’m still concerned and I don’t think that is going to change to be honest.”

- Nico Hulkenberg offered an update on his future, saying he expected a resolution to arrive in the next few weeks. “I don’t think it will take that much longer to be honest, so obviously the sooner the better, it’s good for everyone to have clarity but as of now it’s nothing yet,” he said. Hulkenberg knocked back suggestions he was in talks over a Formula E drive for the 2019-20 season, saying it was an avenue he was yet to pursue.

- Haas F1 chief Gunther Steiner confirmed Robert Kubica is in contention to take up a simulator role with the team in 2020 after his Williams exit. “I think it’s interesting for us to work with Robert. It’s more his decision than my one,” said Steiner.

- George Russell said that he and Romain Grosjean had cleared the air following their on-track clash in Singapore, having also travelled to Sochi together. “We texted each other on Sunday night, just saying what happens on track stays on track, to disagree with what the incident was in the end,” Russell said. “But we’re both grown men and there’s no need to hold a grudge afterwards.”

- Russell said he had no preference over who would be his Williams teammate in 2020, be it Hulkenberg or an incoming rookie such as Nicholas Latifi. “I feel ready to take control, to lead the team, if there were to be a rookie to come alongside me,” Russell said. “But equally I’d be just as happy to have an experienced guy, such as Hulkenberg, coming in with a good reputation and experience.”

- On-track running in Sochi begins with FIA Formula 3 practice at 0820 local time (0620 BST) on Friday, with the first F1 practice session taking place at 1100 (0900 BST).



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