Charles Leclerc won his first-ever Formula 1 Grand Prix today at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Ferrari’s driver showcased why many believe he has a bright future, clinching the top spot on the podium for the first time in his young career. Mercedes’ duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas ended behind him, while his colleague Sebastian Vettel finished fourth.
According to some sources, Leclerc is the first Monegasque to win a Grand Prix since Louis Chiron in 1949. He dedicated this triumph to his late friend, Anthoine Hubert, who died this Saturday at Spa after a horrible accident.
“We have lost a friend and I would like to dedicate my first win to him, I grew up with Anthoine, we raced together. I can’t enjoy my first victory,” said Leclerc after the race.
"This one is for Anthoine"
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 1, 2019
The podium ceremony was without any noisy celebration, and the fans also paid their respects to Hubert, getting up for a standing ovation in the 19th lap, in honor of his number on the car.
Leclerc started the race from the first place as he won the pole position during the previous day. There were several incidents, among which one that saw Max Verstappen finishing his Belgian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo were also involved but them two continued the race, yet without any notable results. Kimi was 16th while Ricciardo ended 14th.
After a safety car appearance on the track, the race continued. Leclerc was first, Vettel second, Hamilton and Bottas behind them. Ferrari then sent the German to the pit stop, which brought him back fourth. After all four drivers took care of that, Vettel was first, but he let Leclerc pass him by after receiving the radio message from the pit lane.
He would later slow down Lewis Hamilton who was having an excellent tempo, and gave a few precious seconds to his teammate which eventually provided him a win.
As the race reached its end, Hamilton was getting closer and closer, which forced the Monegasque to react. He eventually denied Hamilton’s attacks, mostly because of the track configuration.
“The Ferraris were just too fast on the straights,” said Lewis Hamilton about his pursuit. “Maybe a few more laps [to have caught Leclerc] but congratulations to Charles for his first win, he had it coming all year, so I’m really happy for him.”
🏁 CLASSIFICATION 🏁
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 1, 2019
This was the first win for Ferrari this season. Leclerc was near reaching one for quite some time, but the luck and the small details were constantly against him. The Prancing Horse’s improvement was also noticeable over the latest few weekends. In general, Ferrari didn’t have the slightest of luck; otherwise, this victory would have come sooner.
Today’s race didn’t change anything in the standings. Lewis Hamilton is first with 268 points, Valtteri Bottas has 203, and they are far ahead of Ferrari’s tandem. Max Verstappen has 181, ahead of Vettel with 169, and Leclerc 157.
When looking at the constructors’ standings, the situation also didn’t change. Mercedes is first with 471 points, Ferrari has 326, while Red Bull sits third with 254.
The next race is in Monza, the home of Ferrari. It will be very interesting to see how the Italian manufacturer handles business there. Are they going to use this momentum and add another win, or will they suffer a nasty loss in their own house?
The Italian Grand Prix is set for September 8, at 3:10 PM local time.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.