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Leclerc: Thoughts turn to Bianchi on Suzuka return

Leclerc: Thoughts turn to Bianchi on Suzuka return

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Leclerc: Thoughts turn to Bianchi on Suzuka return

Leclerc: Thoughts turn to Bianchi on Suzuka return

Charles Leclerc says he will never race in the Japanese Grand Prix without thoughts turning to his close friend and mentor Jules Bianchi.

Bianchi suffered serious brain injuries in the 2014 edition of the race after crashing with a recovery vehicle in a weather-effected event.

The Frenchman died nine months later, having spent the time between in a coma.

Leclerc has followed in Bianchi's footsteps through the Ferrari Driver Academy, having first driven karts at the track owned by Bianchi's father.

On his first trip to Suzuka with Sauber last year, Leclerc left a tribute to Bianchi at the Dunlop Curve where his incident took place, and says his friend will be in his mind again this week.

"It was a difficult weekend for me last year, being in Suzuka for the first time since Jules' accident," he said.

"Obviously, it is a very sad memory that I will always associate with this Grand Prix.

"The track itself is very technical and demanding. It is one of the best to drive on in terms of its layout.

"It features high speed straights mixed with various corner combinations and the hairpin, all of which make it the iconic circuit that it is.

"It has different characteristics to the last few tracks we have raced on, so we will see how our recent developments will work there, especially in terms of the aerodynamics."

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