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Hamilton first to praise luckless Leclerc

NEWS STORY
01/04/2019

If Robert Kubica's fairy-tale return to the sport in beginning to look more like a nightmare, so too Charles Leclerc's maiden F1 win.

Having become the second youngest ever pole-sitter on Saturday, and the youngest for Ferrari, the Monegasque looked set to make a little more history next day, as he appeared to be he heading to his maiden Grand Prix win just twenty-three races into his F1 career.

The second round of pits stop over, the youngster had a 10s advantage over second-placed Lewis Hamilton, but 13 laps from the end disaster struck as it became clear the SF90 had a power issue.

As the youngster was left helpless prey to Hamilton and then Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, it was only the late appearance of the safety car that allowed him to retain third place ahead of a rapidly closing Max Verstappen.

As fans arounds the world sympathised with the 20-year-old, among the first to console him was the five-time world champion.

"You drove amazingly all weekend," said the Briton, in the moments before the podium ceremony. "But, you have got a long, long career ahead of you, dude. I know it sucks right now."

"This weekend Ferraris have been incredible," Hamilton subsequently told reporters. "I had to see Charles... he did such a great job.

"He had done the job to win the race," he continued, "he deserved to win. It's a great result for the team, considering how hard the race was. But this guy has lots more wins coming in the future. He was so strong this weekend, he'll bounce back, he'll grow, this will be another layer to his young greatness already and I'm looking forward to more battles with him."

Talking about the moment he passed the stricken Ferrari, the Briton admitted: "Ultimately you want to pass someone because you're quicker than them and it's been a fight. I went past Charles on the back straight and I raised my hand to him because there was nothing I could do, I didn't have any problems.

"It feels weird," he continued, "and honestly you can't believe your luck in that scenario but what can you do? You can't deny yourself, you just have to keep doing what you do.

"I've been in positions like that before, where you've been in the lead and the car has stopped, so I know how it feels. But there are many positives for him to take from this, and we have a lot of work to do to keep up."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Sakhir, here.

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1. Posted by GarH, 01/04/2019 10:04

"The big question. Would Charles Leclerc be leading the race if the Ferrari hadn't been pushed beyond it's limits?"

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