In Brief

F1: Charles Leclerc tipped to beat Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari next year

‘Future champion’ Verstappen is praised for his mature performance in Singapore

‘Leclerc will beat Vettel’

Italian race driver Raffaele Marciello believes that Charles Leclerc can beat Sebastian Vettel when the two become teammates at Ferrari next year.

After just one season in Formula 1, Sauber’s Leclerc will replace Kimi Raikkonen at the Maranello-based team next year. Marciello, a previous test driver at Ferrari, has tipped the 20-year-old to be faster than four-time world champion Vettel.

Quoted by F1i.com, Marciello told Formula Passion: “I am convinced that when Charles arrives at Ferrari, he will be able to beat him right away.

“In the years of the Red Bull titles he [Vettel] had Mark Webber behind him, not a champion. And their car was much better than all the others.”

Brawn praises Verstappen

After his superb second-placed finish at the Singapore Grand Prix on 16 September, Max Verstappen has shown he has the maturity to be a future world champion, Sky Sports reports.

That’s the opinion of Ross Brawn, F1’s head of motorsport, who praised the 20-year-old for his impeccable drive.

Brawn said: “The young Dutchman squeezed every last drop of performance out of his Red Bull, first when he unexpectedly put it on the front row on Saturday and then on Sunday with an impeccable drive that showed real maturity.

“He even managed to close on [race winner Lewis] Hamilton when they came up behind traffic, but even then he avoided unnecessary risks, perhaps aware that he didn’t have a real chance of winning.

“It shows that the Dutchman has all the hallmarks of a future champion. It’s not enough to just produce phenomenal performances in some races if others are marred by silly mistakes, but more and more Verstappen’s race are characterised by not just prodigious pace but also composure.”

Red Bull set for tough race in Russia

While Max Verstappen celebrated a second in Singapore, this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix will provide a much tougher test for his Red Bull team.

Because of engine changes to the cars of Verstappen and teammate Daniel Ricciardo, both Red Bulls will start with grid penalties in Sochi, F1.com reports.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said: “We’ve got the previous specification going in for the next race, so Sochi is going to be a tough weekend for us.

“We accepted the risks when we took this [Spec C] engine. It has delivered a bit more power and it has been a bit rough around the edges.”

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