Sports

Charles Leclerc ends Ferrari’s wait for a home win at Italian Grand Prix

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The 21-year-old Monegasque driver held off fierce competition from Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to seal the win, backing up his first Formula 1 victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. Celebrations in Spa last weekend were muted following the death of Formula 2 driver Antoine Hubert, and Leclerc raced on Sunday with the words "RIP Toni" written across the back of his steering wheel in memory of his friend.The last time Ferrari tasted success in Monza was Fernando Alonso's victory in 2010, but this weekend's result means the Tifosi — the famous Ferrari supporters that flock to the northern Italian city in their droves — can finally toast a home champion."What a race. I've never been so tired," Leclerc told Sky after the win. "I made a few mistakes but in the end I finished first so I'm very happy with this. I need to be careful with the mistakes but obviously none of them made me lose position today."READ: Italian GP practice shortened after horrific Formula 3 crashREAD: Charles Leclerc dedicates first F1 victory to Antoine Hubert

'Not our day'

Championship leader Hamilton kept in close pursuit of Leclerc for most of the race, but when he left the track with 11 laps to go, it was down to his teammate Bottas to try and spoil the home fans' party. The Finn narrowed the gap between his Mercedes and Leclerc's Ferrari to just half a second, but a braking error in the closing stages effectively settled the result. Hamilton still holds a comfortable lead at the top of the championship, 63 points clear of Bottas. "Congratulations to Ferrari and Charles, he did a great job," Hamilton told Sky after the race. "There was a lot of pressure from both Valtteri and I. I did the best I could."Obviously following so closely for such a lRead More – Source