Charles Leclerc just held off Lewis Hamilton to win the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday, securing the first victory of his Formula One career and ending Ferrari’s long wait for a win.
Hamilton was within one second of Leclerc on the final lap, but the 21-year-old from Monaco held his nerve.
Leclerc dedicated it to the French driver Anthoine Hubert who died Saturday, following a heavy crash during an F2 race held on the same track. Drivers paid their respects on Sunday.
Moments after winning, Leclerc pointed to the sky and then to Hubert’s name written on the side of his car.
“This one is for Anthoine,” said an emotional Leclerc on the radio. “It feels good but it is difficult to enjoy a weekend like this. On one hand I have realised a dream, but on the other hand it has been a difficult weekend. “I have lost a friend, so I would like to dedicate my win to him. We have grown up together. It is a shame what happened yesterday, so I cannot enjoy my first victory.”
Hamilton extended his championship lead because his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third, finishing ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari had not won since former driver Kimi Raikkonen’s victory at the US GP last October.