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Maiden win for Leclerc at emotional Belgian Grand Prix

Maiden win for Leclerc at emotional Belgian Grand Prix
By Eurosport

01/09/2019 at 14:27Updated 01/09/2019 at 16:18

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc picked up his maiden win at an emotional Belgian Grand Prix, coming one day after a driver was killed in an F2 race.

The grid wore "Racing for Anthoine" logos in tribute to Anthoine Hubert, who was killed after a collision with Ecuadorian-American driver Juan Manuel Correa after he had already gone off into the barriers at the Spa-Francorchamps track's fast Raidillon corner on Saturday.

And Hubert's contemporary, 21-year-old Leclerc, held off a late challenge from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to seal victory.

Valtteri Bottas took the third podium spot, with Leclerc's senior team-mate Sebastian Vettel in fourth.

Hamilton still holds a 65-point lead over Bottas in the drivers' championship.

DRIVER OF THE DAY - Alex Albon (Red Bull)

Had Lando Norris managed just one more lap this accolade would have been his. But the McLaren shuddered to a halt with a clutch problem denying him of his best finish as an F1 driver and so Alex Albon can claim to putting on the best performance of the day. He started 18th on the grid and eventually finished fifth after impressively making his way through the pace in his first race as a Red Bull driver.

WHERE THE RACE WAS WON

2/44 Verstappen out! The Red Bull driver's race is over. There was contact between Verstappen and Perez. Raikkonen might have been involved in the clash as well. He made a poor start and then his steering seemed to go, sending him into the wall.

20/44 Vettel into the pits! It's the German who Ferrari pull into the pits first. Vettel emerges out into P5, putting Hamilton up into second place for the time being. Have Ferrari got their strategy right?

25/44 Leclerc into the pits! The youngster has changed on to the medium compounds and has come out BEHIND Vettel. Leclerc has reason to question the strategy from his Ferrari team there.

30/44 Vettel lets Leclerc pass him! There's been a change in race leader. The German lets the youngster pass him. That explains why Ferrari told Leclerc not to worry when he questioned the team strategy with the timing of the pit stops.

44/44 Last lap! Hamilton is throwing down one almighty challenge to Leclerc. The difference between the two is under two seconds now! Hamilton is closing the gap with every turn of the track and it seems that Leclerc is losing grip!

LECLERC WINS THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX! It's a victory for the Ferrari. "It feels good, but difficult to enjoy a weekend like this," says Leclerc on the team radio. It's an emotional victory for him! What a drive from the 21-year-old at Spa. He started on pole and took the chequered flag. His first win in F1.

PIT EXCHANGE OF THE DAY

“Let Charles through” came the team orders from the Ferrari pit wall to Vettel on lap 27 of the race. The German, who hasn’t won a race since last year’s Belgian Grand Prix, wouldn’t have had the pace to keep Leclerc behind him anyway, but this was the moment that effectively saw the 21-year-old claim his first F1 win. This might also mark a change in the dynamic between these two teammates.

BEST OVERTAKE

It might not have been the most spectacular pass, but there was a symbolism to Albon’s overtake of Pierre Gasly. Of course, this was Albon’s first race for Red Bull after taking Gasly’s seat and so this race will be taken as proof that the parent team have made the correct call in swapping drivers with Trro Rosso.

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