Leclerc takes first F1 victory at Spa
Leclerc took victory in Spa (Photo credit: Mark Thompson, Getty Images)

Leclerc takes first F1 victory at Spa

The Ferrari driver took victory ahead of Lewis Hamilton in an emotional race at the Belgian Grand Prix.

jacowen96
James Cowen

Charles Leclerc took his maiden Formula One victory at the Belgium Grand Prix after fending off Lewis Hamilton late on during an emotional race at Spa.

The Monegasque was able to hold off Hamilton in the dying stages of the race, where the Brit closed to within a second of the Ferrari driver, but Leclerc held on to take his first victory in F1.

Leclerc's victory ended Ferrari’s winless streak going back to the USA GP last season where Kimi Raikkonen climbed to the top step of the podium for the Maranello outfit

He dedicated the victory in Spa to his close friend Anthoine Hubert, who tragically lost his life during an F2 race the day before.

A minute silence had been held for the Frenchman before the race, with Hubert's mother and brother joining drivers on the grid to pay their respects.

Close battle between Leclerc and Hamilton

Despite Mercedes seemingly not having the pace of Ferrari before the race, Hamilton was able to stay in striking distance of Sebastian Vettel in the early stages.

But Leclerc was able to assert his dominance out in front, comfortably pulling away from his German team-mate.

Vettel had briefly taken the lead after an early pit stop, but was forced to let Leclerc by after he pitted a few laps later and was much faster than the four-time world champion.

He attempted to hold off Hamilton as Leclerc built a gap out in front, but the Brit was able to pass Vettel into second and chase down the leading Ferrari.

But with too few laps remaining, Hamilton was unable to catch Leclerc, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas ending the race in a distant third.

The Finn had passed Vettel after the German made a second pit stop, putting him into fourth, although was able to set the fastest lap of the race with a bonus point a consolation for the second Ferrari.

Albon shines whilst cruel luck denies Norris

Alex Albon put in a sensational performance for Red Bull, taking fifth place after starting 17th on the grid, whilst team-mate Max Verstappen retired on the first lap after contact with Kimi Raikkonen.

McLaren’s Lando Norris had been running fifth all race, but a reliability failure on the final lap proved costly, but beneficial to good friend Albon, who pulled off a series of opportunistic overtakes to move up the grid on his debut drive for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez finished an impressive sixth, whilst Daniil Kvyat was able to end the race seventh for Toro Rosso.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg finished eight whilst Pierre Gasly, who was replaced by Albon at Red Bull, finished ninth, with Lance Stroll rounding off the top ten for Racing Point.

 

 

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