Charles Leclerc dedicates first Formula One win to Anthoine Hubert

Ross Houston
September 3, 2019

After a Belgian Grand Prix weekend where the Formula 1 race was utterly overshadowed by death of Anthoine Hubert, The Autosport Podcast pays tribute to the late Renault protege.

Valtteri Bottas took third in the second Mercedes ahead of last year's victor Sebastian Vettel in the second Ferrari.

The 21-year-old has come close to wins twice before in his first season with Ferrari, his second in F1, but delivered under pressure at the classic Spa track.

His hopes of victory dashed, Vettel switched to a supporting role to help his team mate clinch Ferrari's first win of the season.

Leclerc dedicated his win to French driver Anthoine Hubert, who died on Saturday (Sunday NZT) following a heavy crash during an F2 race held on the same track.

He said: "On (the) one hand, I've got a dream since being a child that has been realised but, on the other hand, we have lost a friend first of all and it's very hard in these situations".

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who was set to start today's race in pole position, shared a moving throwback picture of him and Hubert on his Instagram page last night.

It was a sombre victory for Leclerc.

It was preceded by a minute's silence to honour Hubert, killed in a multi-car collision in the Formula Two race 24 hours earlier.

When Bottas came in one lap later, Ferrari regained the race lead with Vettel ahead of Leclerc until Vettel obeyed team orders to let Leclerc go past on Lap 27.

And Hamilton paid tribute to Leclerc's ability to adapt to life in one of Formula 1's toastiest hot-seats alongside a multiple word champion.

Vettel pitted to switch from softs to mediums on lap 16, rejoining fifth behind Norris while Hamilton rose to second in pursuit of Leclerc. Vettel is 21 without a win since last season's Belgian GP as his miserable form continued, hardly softened by one extra point for the fastest lap.

Verstappen had finished in the top five of every other race this season but suffered his first retirement since the Hungarian GP in July past year. "So congratulations to all the guys in the team and well done to Charles for his first win!"

While the early stop initially gave him an advantage, with the four-time champion finding himself in the lead, he eventually began to run out of grip.

His only consolation was scoring the single point on offer for setting the fastest lap.

The Thai rookie, promoted from Toro Rosso to the former champions in a swap with Frenchman Pierre Gasly, had started 17th due to an engine-related grid penalty.

Further back, Verstappen's attempt to make up for a slow start saw the Dutchman collide with Kimi Raikkonen at La Source, pitching the Alfa Romeo into the air and damaging the front-left area of the Red Bull, which broke upon entry to Eau Rouge and left the crowd favourite in the barrier.

Six laps later, Ferrari brought Vettel in for a tire change, pushing Hamilton up to second place.

Lance Stroll in the other Racing Point rounded out the top 10.

Other reports by iNewsToday