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    Charles Leclerc dedicates first F1 victory to Anthoine Hubert

    Credit: Belga

    Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorcourts on Sunday.  

    He has dedicated his first F1 victory to Anthoine Hubert, the French driver who died during an F2 race on the same track on Saturday. “On one hand, this is a childhood dream come true. On the other hand, this weekend has been difficult because we lost a friend,” he said. 

    “These situations are very difficult, so I wanted to dedicate my first victory to him,” Leclerc explained. He wrote ‘RIP Tonio’ on the steering wheel of his Ferrari and ‘Racing for Anthoine’ on the back of his car. 

    “We grew up together. I went up against Anthoine during my first ever race when we were younger. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were in it too. We were four teenagers dreaming of going into F1. It’s awful what happened yesterday. I‘m not able to fully enjoy my win, but I will definitely remember it.” 

    Leclerc had to drop out of the Bahrein Grand Prix because of technical issues despite being on track to win at the beginning of the season. He had to wait for the 13th race of the year to finally get his first F1 victory. He started in pole position and maintained his lead throughout practically the entire race.  

    “It was a difficult race, especially the end. Lewis Hamilton made a strong comeback so I was under pressure, but I managed to keep him behind me. We had a lot of trouble with our tyres near the end. I managed the tyres better than at Budapest, where I came fourth. Mercedes were very fast today too. It was a good weekend: pole position and first win. I’m very happy.” 

    Leclerc is currently fifth overall with 157 points, 12 less than his team-mate Sebastian Vettel who is just above him. Both Ferrari drivers are quite a way behind Hamilton, the leader (268). The next Grand Prix next Sunday will be at the Monza track, which is good for Ferrari.  

    Sarah Johansson
    The Brussels Times