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Sports

Leclerc dedicates first Grand Prix win to French driver Anthoine Hubert

media Charles Leclerc said his first Grand Prix victory was overshadowed by the death of his friend Anthoine Hubert. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Charles Leclerc on Sunday dedicated his first Formula 1 victory to the French racing driver Anthoine Hubert who died following a crash on Saturday in the Formula 2 race at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

Leclerc started the Belgian Grand Prix in pole position ahead of his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel and ultimately held off the drivers' championship leader Lewis Hamilton to secure the triumph.

"This one is for Anthoine," said Leclerc over the team radio after crossing the line. "Feels good, but difficult to enjoy on a weekend like this."

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third.

Memory

"On the one hand I have realised a childhood dream," said 21-year-old Leclerc. "But on the other it has been a very difficult weekend. We lost a friend first of all. I want to dedicate this win to Anthoine.

"We have grown up together and my first ever race I did when I was seven with Anthoine. So it is such a shame what happened. I can't enjoy it fully, my first victory, but it is a memory that will live with me forever."

The triumph - and the 25 points - moves fifth placed Leclerc closer to Vettel in the drivers' championship. Hamilton extended his lead to 65 points over Bottas with eight races remaining.

"I gave it absolutely everything I had," said Hamilton. "It was a really difficult race. Ferrari were just too fast on the straights.

"Congratulations to Charles for his first win, he's had it coming all year, so I'm really happy for him."

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