F1 drivers praise grippy Istanbul track after 2020 ‘ice rink’ | Racing News – Times of India

ISTANBUL: Formula One drivers on Friday praised the gripper surface of the Istanbul Park Circuit, saying the Turkish Grand Prix track is fun to ride again and very different from last year’s wet and slippery “ice rink”.
Turkey returned to the F1 calendar in 2020 with a reversible track almost a decade away that lacked perseverance in the wet.
The drivers were unprepared and the organizers responded to criticism ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix to make the dump more abrasive.
Mercedes World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who last year called the track “terrible” and joined other drivers to compare it to ice on the surface, said after a quick lap in Friday’s practice that the track was “very, very different”.
The seven-time world champion who broke the track record said, “I didn’t really know what to expect when we got there but, Jeez, we’re much tougher than before.”
“It’s so tough, it’s so strong, it’s great.
“So it has made it a much more enjoyable track to drive, much more like before (years ago),” said Britain, who will take a 10-place grid penalty on Sunday for exceeding his season’s engine allocation.
Hamilton’s Red Bull Championship opponent Max Verstapen, who was motionless in Friday’s practice, said the track is now “very beautiful”.
McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo said the track was “completely different” than last year, his car was much faster than the 2020 race.
Istanbul Park, which hosted the F1 between 2005-2011, offers a good chance to overtake but the weather forecast showed that rain is expected this weekend and the wind on Friday created a challenge for some drivers.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the track was “much more gripper” than last year and Ferrari Racing director Laurent Maxis praised officials for their work on the circuit.
“I think all the drivers have enjoyed a much higher grip level than last year. We’ll see how it develops over the weekend but of course we’re in a much better place than last year,” Maxis said.

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