Formula One: Leclerc hoping for Monza fizz after flat Spa

MONZA, Italy (AFP) – Charles Leclerc hopes he will be able to celebrate another win at Sunday’s (Sept 8) Italian Grand Prix after his maiden Formula One victory was overshadowed by the tragic death of Anthoine Hubert.

Leclerc claimed a win for Ferrari at last weekend’s Belgian GP, a “silent” triumph without the traditional champagne shower on the podium due to the passing of his close friend Hubert, who perished following a horror crash in a F2 race on Saturday.

However, with Ferrari heavily tipped for another win in their home GP, Leclerc is hoping for a more joyous occasion in Monza.

“I haven’t done much to celebrate the win at all. There was no time and it was not that kind of weekend,” he said.

“Hopefully, I will be able to celebrate after this one. There wasn’t much time to celebrate anything in Belgium.”

He was silent at Spa-Francorchamps, he said, because he drove without speaking to his Ferrari team on the normal radio communication.

“I don’t know why I didn’t speak. And the team thought the radio must be broken.”

Leclerc managed to lead from pole, control the race with help from Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel and then resist late pressure from Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.

Afterwards, he performed a series of impressively controlled news media interviews and then began immediate preparations for the Italian race weekend.

“Until you get it, it feels very far away. Once you have it, it feels very, very good, and it gives you a bit of a confidence boost,” the 21-year-old said of the win.

“It’s great. Now it’s done I can focus on the future and hopefully, many more will come. I am very happy this first win is done.

“It’s always difficult to do this first step, but once you do it, it takes quite a bit of weight out of your shoulders.”

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