'Anthoine was in our thoughts' on tough day says Hamilton

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) (AFP) –


Lewis Hamilton admitted that he found it difficult to do his job and take part in Sunday?s Belgian Grand Prix following Anthoine Hubert's death in Saturday?s Formula Two race.

The defending five-time world champion said it was hard to accept that life went on in such tragic circumstances.

"It's not the best of weekends for the sport," Hamilton said after finishing second behind Ferrari?s Charles Leclerc, who claimed his maiden F1 win for Ferrari,

"Yesterday was a very tough day? And just coming here, we all had to clear our thoughts and then race with Anthoine in spirit.?

Referring to his crash in third free practice on Saturday morning, he added: ?I remember when I crashed in P3, I heard some fans were yelling or cheering -- and it was quite a decent hit -- and that's what encouraged me to say the things I did at the end of the day.

"But coming here today, it was really hard to believe that we'd lost a great racing driver -- and the world continues on.

"The race was going on so you have to get in the car and do the job. I raced with his family in my thoughts and I think the team did a good job."

Hamilton was not the only driver who struggled with his emotions on Sunday.

Pierre Gasly, a contemporary and friend of compatriot Hubert, said it had been "the most emotional race I ever had".

He explained: ?You are not ready at 22, 23 years old, to live this kind of moment -- to lose one of your best mates.

"I?ve grown up with this guy since I was seven in karting. We have been room-mates. We?ve lived in the same apartment for six years. We?ve been class-mates.

"I have studied since I was 13 until 19 with him and with the same professor in a private school.

"Now, I feel shock. I did not realise how it can go so fast. It?s just terrible. I?ve already planned to see all our friends we had with Anthoine tomorrow because none of us really understand and realise what happened yesterday and it?s just super sad.?

Gasly finished ninth in his first outing since being demoted to Toro Rosso from Red Bull.

He added that he had told Leclerc, another of their contemporaries and friends, that he had to win in memory of Hubert.

"I told Charles before the race ?please win this race for Anthoine? because we started racing in the same year, Charles, Anthoine and myself. And actually Anthoine won the French cup in 2005.

?We raced together for so many years and we all knew each other. Between (losing) Jules Bianchi a couple of years ago, and now Anthoine, I think it?s really terrible news for French motorsport.

?They were two great, amazing characters. It?s just really difficult to realise.?