Thanks to the pandemic, Turkey returned to the F1 calendar after a nine-year hiatus in 2020. Despite a thrilling qualifying session and race where Lewis Hamilton claimed victory and his seventh Drivers’ Championship, the surface of the track wasn’t in great condition as drivers struggled massively for any kind of grip in the dry and wet.
The circuit was water blasted recently to try and avoid a repeat of last year. However, one man would like to see similar conditions this year – that is Charles Leclerc.
The Ferrari driver stormed through the field after a disappointing qualifying and finished 4th, although a mistake on the last lap while trying to pass Sergio Perez for P2 lost him a podium spot.
Leclerc “remembers that a lot of people complained [in 2020], but I was one of the only ones that was actually happy that it was like this because we were competitive, we were fighting for very good positions – and obviously a podium was possible.
“I enjoyed that weekend – it didn’t end up the way I wanted, by being just under the podium, being fourth.
“But, overall, it was a positive weekend for us, and I hope we can reproduce that this year.
“I’ve heard some things have changed – obviously they have washed the track several times.
“So, let’s see if it’s as bad as last year. I don’t think it will be as bad, but hopefully it will still be slippery and hopefully it will still benefit us.”
Australian Oscar Piastri is in a commanding position with two rounds left in the Formula 2 season in 2021 as the rookie leads the standings by 36 points from fellow Alpine academy driver Guanyu Zhou.
Leclerc, who won the title in 2017, believes the Aussie should be on the F1 grid next year.
“He is a very, very talented driver,” said Leclerc according to the-race.com.
“I obviously look at all the F2 races and he’s incredibly consistent, always there when he needs to be.
“It is impressive and he definitely has the merit to be in F1.
“I really hope for him [to get a seat] – he should be in F1. So, I really hope he will be very soon.”
Leclerc is against a driver automatically getting an F1 drive if they win the F2 championship, but is sure Piastri deserves a shot.
“It is a difficult one,” Leclerc continued. “I wouldn’t do it as an automatic move, that you win F2 and you go to F1 because this wouldn’t be fair in some cases.
“But it’s also pretty clear once a driver deserves it.
“Oscar it’s his first year in F2 and [it looks likely] he wins it straight away – that’s been the case for other drivers, too.
“I don’t think there needs to be a rule for it. It’s quite obvious that some F2 winners need to get a seat.”