Charles Leclerc has dedicated his maiden Formula 1 grand prix victory to Anthoine Hubert, who lost his life in a crash during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Hubert, 22, succumbed to injuries he sustained in a serious crash during the opening Formula 2 race on Saturday, having been involved in a violent  multi-car accident at Raidillon on the second lap.

Leclerc won Sunday’s Belgian GP from pole position to record a long-awaited first victory of the season for Ferrari and his first in F1.

Following the race, the Monegasque driver came over his team radio to say: “My first victory in F1. This one is for Anthoine. It feels good, but difficult to enjoy a weekend like this.”

Speaking in the post-race interviews, Leclerc added: “On one hand I’ve got a dream since a child that has been realised.

“But on the other hand, it has been a very difficult weekend since yesterday, we have lost a friend first of all but it is very difficult in these situations.

“I would like to dedicate my first win to him. We have grown up together, my first ever race I have done it with Anthoine when we are younger and it is just a shame what happened yesterday.

“I can’t enjoy it fully my first victory but it will definitely be a memory I will keep forever.”

Leclerc had to fend off a late attack from championship Lewis Hamilton, with the Ferrari driver holding on by less than a second at the chequered flag to seal the win.  

“It’s been a very difficult race," he explained. "We’ve been struggling quite a bit with the tyres towards the end but I’m a lot happier than with what I managed in Budapest on my side.

“It was better but Mercedes was very quick in the race and we expected. But at the end, it’s a good weekend performance-wise with the pole position and my first victory, so for that I’m satisfied.

“The end of the race was definitely not easy, he [Hamilton] was catching very quickly so I had a quite a bit of pressure but I’m happy I kept him behind.”

 

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