Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has won his first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix race.
It was a sombre day in the Formula 1 paddock following the death of Formula 2 driver, Anthoine Hubert just 24 hours earlier. Prior to the race, all those at the track paid their tributes in a touching ceremony on the grid.
For Leclerc, it was a bittersweet day – his maiden win a significant moment in his career, but it was certainly not a day he could celebrate as he would have planned.
"Since I was a child I’ve been looking up to Formula 1, dreaming to be first a Formula 1 driver, which happened last year, then driving for Ferrari this year, and then - the first win today,” Leclerc said.
“It’s a good day, but on the other hand, losing Anthoine yesterday brings me back to 2005, my first ever French championship. There was him, Esteban [Ocon], Pierre [Gasly] and myself. We were four kids that were dreaming of Formula 1. We grew up in karting for many, many years, and to lose him yesterday was a big shock for me but obviously for everyone in motor sport, so it was a very sad day.”
Leclerc started the race on pole and powered to the first corner in the lead and from there had control for most of the day.
Lewis Hamilton, who finished second, pushed Leclerc late, but was unable to get past the Ferrari.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas ended the day in third.
For CAMS Ambassador, Daniel Ricciardo, it was a day he will want to move on from quickly. An unfortunate incident on the opening lap resulted in damage to his floor, forcing him to the pits for what would ultimately be his only stop of the race.
That one stop made his day particularly difficult, having to nurse his tyres for the entire race. Ricciardo was passed by a number of other drivers in the closing stages, despite spending plenty of time in the top 10 throughout the race.
“Our race was pretty much shaped after the Lap 1, Turn 1 incident,” Ricciardo said.
“I thought at one stage we might pick up some points, I was proud to hold on for that long and I know we couldn’t have done anymore.
“I’m glad today is over, yesterday’s news has been difficult to take. It was tough to be here and put on a brave face, but I’m glad I gave it my best.”
There will be no time for rest for the drivers and teams, Italy hosts the next round of the Championship this weekend at the famous Monza circuit.