Valtteri Bottas takes 'tactical' engine grid penalty in Russia

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas will start the Russian Grand Prix from 17th place after a new engine was fitted to his car resulting in a grid penalty.

Bottas qualified seventh on the grid in a wet qualifying session on Saturday, but will now join Nicholas Latifi, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen at the back of the grid due to engine changes.

The Finnish driver also took a power unit grid penalty at the Italian Grand Prix, but a Mercedes spokesperson said the team was taking the "tactical opportunity" of installing another fresh power unit ahead of the race in Russia.

Each driver is limited to a certain amount of power unit components per year, including three engines, three turbochargers, and three MGU-Hs. Bottas will be taking his fifth engine of those components in Russia -- although not a new MGU-K, energy store or control electronics -- meaning he now has multiple fresh components available to him for the rest of the season compared to the single components available to most of his rivals.

The tactical element is also linked to the starting position of Verstappen in Russia, who is Hamilton's main rival for the title. Bottas' presence towards the back of the field but ahead of the Red Bull may act as a road block for Verstappen's progress, while also ensuring that, if they remain in their positions relative to each other, Mercedes will still stand a good chance of outscoring one of the Red Bulls despite taking the grid penalty this weekend.

Bottas will start ahead of the other three drivers who have taken fresh power units by virtue of receiving a 15-place penalty rather than the back-of-the-grid penalty incurred by Latifi, Leclerc and Verstappen.

Hamilton, meanwhile, starts from fourth on the grid and is currently on this third of each of the power unit components listed above