On Saturday, though, there were only 10 cars on track and five already in the garage. Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, along with Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly, had nothing to play for because they were starting at the back of the grid anyway due to penalties for using too many engine and power unit parts.
"This weekend in Sochi I have a great feeling but it's a shame we need to start at the back of the grid tomorrow," Gasly said. Renault's Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg then secured 11th and 12th places ahead of the penalized drivers without turning a wheel.
Starting just outside the top 10 could actually be an advantage. Cars which didn't qualify for the third session are free to change tires for the race itself, while the top 10 have to start on worn rubber.
At the last race in Singapore, the 11th, 12th and 13th starters made gains on fresh tires to finish 7th, 8th and 9th, collecting valuable points for their smaller teams.
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