Formula 1 chief Ross Brawn says the challenging track surface conditions throughout the Turkish Grand Prix weekend was “no bad thing” despite drivers’ complaints.

Drivers faced low-grip conditions at the newly resurfaced Istanbul Park circuit across the weekend, with wet weather on Saturday and Sunday making it even more difficult as a number of drivers made mistakes and spun as they struggled to get their tyres up to temperature.

It prompted a number of drivers, including newly-crowned champion Lewis Hamilton to criticise the decision to resurface the track, while Williams’ George Russell was frustrated by the conditions, saying it was “not what F1 is about”.

But Brawn explained that the relaid track surface was a consequence of the late decision to race in Turkey for the first time in nine years as part of the revised 2020 calendar following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” Brawn said in his post-race column.

“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.

“Competition needs to be fair and equal. It’s a sport, so we need to give everyone same opportunity. It’s challenging, but that should be seen as good thing.

“As an example, Monaco has always been seen to be a very difficult event and race, but if you came to terms with it and looked on it positively as a big challenge, then you would succeed and win races there. If you went there in a negative frame of mind, you didn’t succeed.

“Turkey didn’t have the grippiest surface, but those who knuckled down and thought this was an opportunity had success.”

Brawn also praised Hamilton's achievement of matching Michael Schumacher's record of seven world titles as he notched up his 10th victory of the season, saying the Briton is now at the "pinnacle" of his career. 

"Massive congratulations to Lewis," Brawn added. "He showed today why he is such an exceptional talent. I’m always engaged by the running commentary from Lewis during the race on team radio, suggesting things aren’t going well, which is always entertaining – but he always delivers.

"Despite his Mercedes team struggling for pace all weekend on a slippery surface in cold conditions, he stayed patient in the race, strategized and pushed when needed to. He got the tyres working when no one else could. It was the perfect demonstration of what he is – a seven-time world champion, equalling Michael’s record.

"It’s the kind of dominance that in most people’s motorsport career, you only see once. I’ve been blessed to see it twice. I have been fortunate to work with both Lewis and Michael. They are different characters, which is wonderful as you don’t want metronomic characters in F1. Lewis is different to Michael in the way they approach things. At the core of it, they both have a God given talent.

"Sunday wasn’t an easy win. He didn’t put the car on pole and disappear into the distance. It was a challenging weekend for him, regarding the weather, the conditions and the track. Clearly, it didn’t initially suit Mercedes but they got they head down and thought about it. He came from further down the grid today. He wins when he’s not given any opposition and he wins when he is given a big challenge."

 

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