Lewis Hamilton believes the events of the 2019 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix weekend reflect that the dangers of motorsport are not widely appreciated enough.

22-year-old Frenchman Anthoine Hubert succumbed to injuries he sustained in a serious accident during a supporting Formula 2 race on Saturday, while fellow F2 driver Juan Manuel Correa is recovering in intensive care after suffering two broken legs and a minor spinal injury having been caught up in the crash.

Hamilton took to Instagram to pay a heartfelt tribute to Hubert, who he described as a “hero”, while he also raised concerns about modern attitudes towards safety in motorsport.

Speaking after he finished second in Sunday’s race at Spa, the Briton explained that his comments had been partly influenced after hearing fans cheering when he crashed heavily during final practice, just hours before the F2 race took place.

“Not the best of weekends for the sport,” he said. “Yesterday [Saturday] was a very tough day and even today [Sunday] just coming here.

“But I had to go out there and we all had to just try and clear our thoughts and try and race with Anthoine in spirit.

“Considering P1 wasn’t a good session, crashed in P3… I remember when I crashed there were some fans yelling or something like that.

“It was quite a decent hit. That’s kind of why I said the things I did, it encouraged me to say the things I did at the end of the day.

“But coming here today was really knowing that we’ve lost a great racing driver yesterday and yet the world just continues on and the race was going on so you have to just get in the car and go and do the job.

“But I just raced with him and his family in my thoughts and prayers and I think as a team, I think we did a good job. And Charles did a fantastic job, so congratulations to him.”

Asked if he has any safety concerns moving forwards, Hamilton replied: “I think there’s a huge amount of work that the FIA have done up to this point.

"I think they’ve been working incredibly hard and we’ve seen big steps already. Obviously, particularly when Charlie was here he made massive steps forward so we will continue in that direction.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff echoed his driver’s comments, adding: “It’s very difficult to relate to what is happening in a car if you have never driven a race car at these speeds.

“Whether it’s in the junior formulas, all the way to Formula 1, in GT cars or prototypes, it’s still a gladiator’s sport. It’s still about courage, ability, risk taking but through a camera lens, you will never realise what it feels like.

“We were fortunate for many years to not have had these kinds of accidents and maybe forgotten how dangerous the sport is.

“I think this is what Lewis wanted to express. I can totally relate to it, if you drive towards Eau Rouge with 260/270kph which looks like a 90 degree corner and you take it flat.

“It’s beyond understanding that these guys do what they do. And it can end fatally like it did yesterday.”

 

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