Verstappen set for Spa engine penalty

Max Verstappen will drop ten places on the grid for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after being forced to change to his sixth Renault power unit of the season.

The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver becomes the third driver this weekend to take a penalty for an engine change after the decision by the McLaren-Honda team to switch the engines for both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

Despite the penalty hanging over his head, Verstappen had a strong Friday practice in Belgium, finishing inside the top ten in FP1 and being competitive again in FP2 despite limited running.

“It was a good day today,” said Verstappen. “I always enjoy driving at this great circuit and I’m happy to be back.

“Today it was my first time here at the wheel of an F1 car and it was a lot more challenging than with an F3 car.

“In general I’m happy with how the day went. Of course there’s still a few things to improve balance wise, but it was not bad at all. I slowly built my confidence up in FP1 and by the end of the session I was feeling great.

“In FP2 I didn’t manage to have a lot of free laps, but I’m happy with the behaviour of the car and I think our pace can keep on improving, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”