Charles Leclerc dedicates win to F2 driver who died at Spa

Charles Leclerc dedicates win to F2 driver who died at Spa

Charles Leclerc dedicates win to F2 driver who died at Spa

Ferrari topped all three practice sessions and all three sections of qualifying, with Leclerc beating Vettel in five of them.

Leclerc dedicated the win to Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert, who was killed in a crash on Saturday.

Leclerc stated he felt he couldn't get pleasure from his long-awaited first win.

Vettel obeyed team orders to let Leclerc go past him on Lap 27, and then twice held off Hamilton before Hamilton passed him on Lap 32 to take second place.

But he soaked up the pressure from the faster Mercedes, not putting a foot wrong until the laps ran out.

But neither Hamilton nor Valtteri Bottas in third took the bait, choosing instead to keep their eyes on the leading Ferrari.

Two laps later, Ferrari called in Leclerc to begin the pit-stops sequence. Hamilton and Bottas followed suit on the following two tours.

Hamilton was within one second of Leclerc on the final lap, but the 21-year-old from Monaco held his nerve. He showed great poise and nerve to hold off championship leader and five-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton late in Sunday's (Monday NZT) race. "Strategy maybe could have been slightly better, after Seb stopped, I was trying to keep up with him but he was very strong on the soft tire".

Thus the race ended with Leclerc winning in his 34th F1 start. "However, there was no other opportunity for me to attack before the end of the race, so we made a decision to save the engine and the gearbox".

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But the Monegasque's celebrations were muted by the memory of Anthoine Hubert. "We've lost a friend". We have grown up together. We grew up collectively and my first race I did it with Anthoine, Esteban (Ocon) and Pierre (Gasly).

"It was of course not a great end to the weekend, but it's not the worst thing that can happen in life as we have seen yesterday", said Verstappen who was also a friend of Hubert's.

There was a minute's silence before the Formula 3 and Formula 1 races on Sunday to pay tribute to Hubert. "We've been struggling quite a bit with the tyres towards the end but a lot of happier than what I've done in Budapest on my side".

Hamilton said: "I think his results speak for themselves really".

"It was a really hard race and there Ferraris were just too fast on the straights".

Starting second - the position from which he won last year's Belgian GP - Vettel would have been confident of using the tow to good effect at the start of the race but, not for the first time this season, the four-time world champion was outclassed by his 21-year-old team-mate. "Congratulations to Charles for his first win - he's had it coming all year".

McLaren's Lando Norris had been running fifth all race, but a reliability failure on the final lap proved costly, but beneficial to good friend Albon, who pulled off a series of opportunistic overtakes to move up the grid on his debut drive for Red Bull.

Daniil Kvyat was similarly impressive for Toro Rosso, rising from a penalised 19th to seventh after making up a sensational eight places on the first lap.

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