Leclerc dedicates Spa win to childhood friend Hubert

Michelle Foster
Charles Leclerc dedicates maiden win to childhood Anthoine Hubert

Charles Leclerc dedicates maiden win to childhood Anthoine Hubert

Charles Leclerc dedicated his maiden F1 grand prix win to childhood friend Anthoine Hubert, admitting it was a bittersweet victory.

The Monégasque driver started the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position before briefly losing the lead to his Ferrari team-mate, Sebastian Vettel.

On fresher tyres, Leclerc easily cruised up behind Vettel before retaking the lead.

But while it initially appeared as if it would be a comfortable first win, there was pressure from Lewis Hamilton late in the race with Leclerc taking the chequered flag 0.9s ahead of the Mercedes driver.

A subdued Leclerc dedicated the win to Hubert, who tragically died in a F2 crash at Spa on Saturday.

“On the one hand I’ve got a dream since being a child that has been realised, on the other hand it has been a very difficult weekend since yesterday,” Leclerc said.

“We have lost a friend first of all.

“It’s very difficult in these situations so I would like to dedicate my first win to him.

“We grew up together – my first ever race I did it with Anthoine, Esteban [Ocon], Pierre [Gasly].

“It’s just a shame what happened yesterday.

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

Leclerc had to manage his tyres late in the race having watched as Vettel, who stopped five laps before the race winner and had to stop a second time as he tyres completely let go.

Leclerc says he learned lessons from his Hungarian Grand Prix.

“It has been a very difficult race,” he added. “We struggled quite a bit with the tyres towards the end.

“But [I’m] a lot happier than what I did in Budapest on my side, I managed the tyres better.”

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