Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he could see “some benefit” from Renault’s latest Formula 1 engine upgrade during the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Milton Keynes-based F1 squad was the only team to take on Renault’s latest C-spec power unit upgrade following its introduction at Monza amid reliability concerns, and continued to run the French manufacturer’s updated engine in Singapore last weekend.

Max Verstappen converted a front-row start - after a brilliant lap in qualifying to get within 0.3s of championship leader Lewis Hamilton’s sublime pole position effort – into a second place finish to record his best result since July’s Austrian Grand Prix.

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The Dutchman battled engine mapping problems throughout the weekend which continued into the race as his RB14 nearly stalled behind the Safety Car and appeared to stutter following his pitstop.

When asked if he felt Verstappen could have fought for pole and the win without his power unit issues, Horner replied: “It is difficult to say I think we could have certainly got close to them but then we saw a power increase compared to previous specifications so we did take some benefit.

“The guys actually did a good job to tidy it up as best they could on the mapping within their parameters. With more time and more optimisation it would only be better.”

Horner revealed after Sunday’s race that Verstappen is likely to take a grid penalty at the Russian Grand Prix at the end of the month due to the recurring problems he faced in Singapore.

The Red Bull chief is bracing for a “tough" weekend for his team at Sochi, where it is expected Verstappen will revert back to the previous specification engine.

“That engine probably won’t run again until Japan,” Horner explained. “We’ve got the previous spec going in for the next race so Sochi is going to be a tough weekend for us.

“The guys in the garage have worked their socks off this weekend, all credit to them for getting it into a drivable position for the race.”

Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo – who finished sixth in Singapore after a poor qualifying – both singled out Singapore as Red Bull’s best chance of taking a victory since Austria, with Horner now pinning the team’s best hopes of claiming another before the end of the season in Mexico.

“I think realistically this year Mexico is probably the only shot we’ve got left under normal circumstances."

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