Charles Leclerc claims Belgian Grand Prix for first victory in F1


• Frenchman leaves Lewis Hamilton in second place
• Max Verstappen crashed out on first lap

Before climbing into his car for the Belgian Grand Prix, the raw emotion of a traumatic weekend was writ large across Charles Leclerc’s face. After the death of his friend Anthoine Hubert on Saturday at Spa, Leclerc looked withdrawn and almost shellshocked on the grid pre-race. By its close he was the winner, the pleasure of his first F1 victory tinged forever with a palpable sense of loss as he dedicated it to the memory of Hubert.

Leclerc’s win, largely untroubled at the front as he showed a pace his rivals could not match, felt like the right result after Saturday’s tragedy. Still only 21 years old, the Ferrari driver has already come to know sudden loss. His godfather, the driver Jules Bianchi, died in 2015 as a result of the injuries he sustained in an accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014. His father died in 2017 when Leclerc was racing in GP2, just days before the meeting in Baku at which Leclerc went on to win.

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Written by Giles Richards at Spa-Francorchamps
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