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Verstappen, Leclerc paid for inexperience in Turkey - Brawn

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Verstappen, Leclerc paid for inexperience in Turkey - Brawn
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Formula 1 boss Ross Brawn believes Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc paid the price for their inexperience in the Turkish Grand Prix, and reckons the "old guard" benefitted from the tricky conditions.

Drivers struggled for grip on the fresh surface throughout Friday's dry practice sessions for the Turkish GP, running laptimes well off the expected pace.

Subsequently rain in both qualifying and the race made for extremely difficult conditions as drivers tip-toed around.

Brawn reckons the conditions favoured experience, with Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel filling the podium slots, and the likes of Verstappen and Leclerc making mistakes.

Verstappen finished down in sixth after spinning twice, while Leclerc dropped down to fourth after a mistake when battling Perez on the final lap.

"What we saw was the old guard demonstrating their experience and the young pretenders showing they have a bit more to learn," Brawn said in his column for the official F1 website.

"It was fascinating to watch Sebastian's performance this weekend, people are quick to write any type of sportsman off if they have a quiet period.

"Sunday reminded us of his deep talent. He's been a bit in the shadow of Charles this year and coming to the end of his Ferrari marriage is not easy, so I think the Turkish GP was a great day for him. He didn't put a foot wrong and was ready to pounce when an opportunity came up.

"In contrast, the younger drivers – such as Charles and Max – made mistakes. They wouldn't have experienced a race like this before.

"It was a real challenge to judge how the tyres would behave, how they would evolve and anticipating where the tyres will be in 10 or 20 laps time – this was where experience came in.

"But this will be another reference point in these young drivers' data bank. If we did another race in Turkey tomorrow, I'm sure a lot of them would approach it differently."

Brawn also countered criticism of the slippery new track surface at Istanbul Park – and says that it allowed drivers to showcase their talent "to the max."

George Russell said that they were "being made to look like idiots" on the slick surface, with tyre temperature playing a key role and some cars clearly struggling more than others to get their tyres to work.

However, Brawn insisted that the tricky conditions gave drivers a chance to demonstrate their abilities.

"The promoter and country have done a fantastic job to put the circuit in a position to host a sensational Grand Prix," he said.

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"I appreciate drivers were not happy with overall grip levels, but it was a consequence of the late decision to race there as the calendar was revised to respond to COVID-19.

"I think drivers sometimes need to remember it's a competition of who crosses the line first, so while grip levels weren't high, it was the same for everyone.

"Some drivers got their head down and came to terms with it, others found it a distraction.

"Having a challenging surface as we had this weekend was no bad thing. It showed a driver's talent to the max. I don't think grip levels are a measure of the level of competition you will have."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Turkish GP
Author Adam Cooper