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Lewis Hamilton: 'Work on improving Formula One safety will continue'

Lewis Hamilton: 'Work on improving Formula One safety will continue'
© Reuters
Charles Leclerc dedicated his maiden victory to his friend Anthoine Hubert.

Lewis Hamilton said Formula One will continue to improve safety following the death of Anthoine Hubert.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc dedicated his maiden victory to the French driver who was killed on Saturday following a 160mph crash in the Formula Two feature race at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The sport's governing body have opened an investigation into Hubert's death.

A moment of silence took place prior to the Formula One grand prix
A moment of silence took place prior to the Formula One grand prix (Valdrin Xhemaj, Pool Photo via AP)

And while Hamilton praised the FIA's safety record, the five-time world champion urged them to remain committed to further improvements.

"There's a huge amount of work that the FIA have done up to this point," said Hamilton, who finished second at Spa-Francorchamps to move 65 points clear at the summit of the championship standings.

"They have been working incredibly hard and we've seen big steps already. When [former race director] Charlie Whiting was here he made massive steps forward, so we will continue in that direction."

Less than 24 hours after Hubert's death, Leclerc, who raced against the French driver in the junior categories of motor racing, delivered an impressive performance from pole position to take the chequered flag ahead of Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas in third.

Leclerc pointed towards the sky during Sunday's muted podium celebrations and later admitted his first grand prix win was bittersweet.

"On one hand a childhood dream has been realised," said Leclerc, 21. "On the other hand it has been a very difficult weekend. I have lost a friend. I would like to dedicate my first win to him.

"We grew up together. Losing Anthoine takes me back to 2005 and my first French championship. There was him, Esteban (Ocon – Mercedes reserve driver), Pierre (Gasly – Toro Rosso driver) and myself. We were four kids dreaming of getting to Formula One.

Leclerc dedicated his first win to Hubert
Leclerc dedicated his first win to Hubert (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

"We have grown up in karting together, so to lose him is a big shock for me, and everyone in the sport.

"It was definitely the first situation for me where I have lost someone and then raced the following day. It is obviously quite challenging to close the visor and go through the exact corner [where he died] at the same speed as I did the day before.

"It is difficult to enjoy this victory, but hopefully in two or three weeks I will realise what happened."

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Charles Leclerc celebrates with a trophy on the podium after winning the race as he applauded by second placed Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and third placed Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas on September 1, 2019
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Charles Leclerc dedicates Belgian Grand Prix win to Anthoine Hubert

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