Leclerc dedicates the first F1 victory to the victim of the Hubert accident
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS (Belgium): Charles Leclerc dedicated to his maiden Formula One career victory in the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday to his late friend, Anthoine Hubert .
The Ferrari driver led almost the entire race from pole to stop the world champion defending Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Dramatic late charge for a second.
His historical success came a day after the death of Frenchman Hubert, 22, in the tragic Formula Two race on Saturday.
And Leclerc hastened to express his emotions as he returned to the 'parc fermee', his flyer with a simple message 'RIP Tonio.
My first victory in F1 and this one is for Anthoine, he said on the team radio. It feels good, but it's hard to enjoy it on a weekend like this. But thanks, you are the best, it is a dream come true.
Leclerc said he felt he could not enjoy his long-awaited first victory.
It has been a very difficult weekend since Saturday. I lost a friend and I want to dedicate this victory to him. We grew up together and my first career was with Anthoine, Esteban (Ocon) and Pierre (Gasly).
It's a shame what happened yesterday. I can't enjoy my first victory, but it will definitely be a memory that I will keep forever.
Valtteri Bottas ranked third in the second Mercedes ahead of last year's winner, Sebastian Vettel, in the second Ferrari.
Hamilton's strong final almost brought him within reach of a surprising late victory, but the result still allowed him to extend his advantage in the title race to 65 points ahead of Bottas.
I gave him everything he had, Hamilton said.
It was a really difficult race and there Ferraris was too fast on the straight. Congratulations to Charles for his first victory, he had it all year.
The new Red Bull boy, Alex Albon, came home fifth for Red Bull, after the unfortunate British rookie Lando Norris McLaren stopped with one remaining lap, ahead of Sergio Perez of Racing Point, Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso and Nico Hulkenberg of Renault.
Pierre Gasly came home ninth on his return to the Toro Rosso and Lance Stroll 10th team at the second Racing Point.