Red Bull are best-of-the-rest in Sochi

Alex Albon locks up in Sochi
Alex Albon locks up in Sochi

Red Bull Racing managed to salvage a 'best of the rest' finish after a poor Saturday left them struggling for the Russian Grand Prix.

With Max Verstappen taking a five-place grid penalty to start ninth, Alex Albon was forced to start from the pitlane after a crash ruled him out of qualifying.

The Thai driver climbed through the field, and showed his potential in the RB15 with some stunning overtakes - including on both Toro Rossos - late in the day to battle his way up to fifth, as Verstappen had a fairly lonely race after making hid way to fourth spot.

The Red Bulls were expected to challenge the Ferrari and Mercedes duos at the top of the field, but were distinctly third fastest of the teams. Lewis Hamilton claimed his ninth victory of the season after in-fighting at Ferrari saw Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc battle it out at the front before the former was forced into retirement with engine issues.

“It was a good race and I think P5 is the best we could have done," said Albon afterwards. "I wanted to bounce back and get a good result after yesterday’s crash so I’m really happy with how the race went, although we probably got a bit lucky with the Safety Car.

"Morale was obviously a little bit low on Saturday night and it was a lot of work for the team so this result is for them.

Max Verstappen had to battle through the field, passing the likes of Lando Norris in the McLaren

Max Verstappen had to battle through the field, passing the likes of Lando Norris in the McLaren

"I started out of position and had some fun coming back through the field, but I don’t want all of my races to be like that. I like boring races too so I’m hoping for a cleaner and smoother weekend in Japan!"

Verstappen, who slipped behind Leclerc in the championship standings to fourth on Sunday, said: "I’m satisfied with the points we scored considering the penalties and pace of Ferrari and Mercedes.

"There wasn’t too much going on for me once I cleared the mid-field traffic and from there I had a bit of a lonely race until the Safety Car closed us all up.

"We were clearly a bit slower than the top three today but at the end of the race it was also more difficult being on the medium compound tyre when the others were on the soft. For sure we maximised the result but of course we want to be scoring more podiums and victories so we still have work to do as the others are very strong."