The death of FIA Formula 2 (F2) Championship racer Anthoine Hubert sent shockwaves on Saturday evening with tributes in abundance.
With F1 Belgian GP qualifying over and Ferrari basking on a 1-2 finish and the other teams and drivers completing their media duties, the feature F2 race at Spa-Francorchamps only started as the day’s final track event.
Only three laps in, the race was red flagged, much to the disbelief of fans and also drivers, especially Hamilton whose reaction was caught on camera. He immediately realised the big hit and ended his interview.
The organisers swiftly confirmed that the race won’t be re-started and the broadcast ended with no replays. The fears of a fatality started to surface with four drivers were thought to be involved initially.
However, there was clarification later on that BWT Arden’s Hubert, Trident’s Giuliano Alesi and Sauber Junior Team by Charouz’s Juan Manuel Correa were the ones involved and it was serious for Hubert and Correa.
Some of the videos and photos – which no one could not see – suggested worse for Hubert, seeing the conditions. And the worst fears came true when the FIA said that Hubert succumbed to injuries at 18:35 PM local time.
They cleared Alesi but Correa was sent to the hospital with a surgery performed due to fractures in his legs and a minor spinal injury. At the track though, the sprint F2 race for Sunday was duly cancelled.
The F3 race took place with a minute’s silence where everyone from F1, F2 and F3 were present, whether teams or the drivers or other officials. Prior to the Belgian GP, the F1 community together with Renault got together as well.
Post-race, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and a friend of Hubert dedicated his first win to Hubert. Even during the grand prix, fans stood up and applauded on Lap 19 – as Hubert used #19 in F2.
Hamilton, meanwhile, led the charge with a heartfelt message on his Instagram. “If a single one of you watching and enjoying this sport think for a second what we do is safe, you’re hugely mistaken,” he wrote.
“All these drivers put their life on the line when they hit the track and people need to appreciate that in a serious way because it is not appreciated enough. Not from the fans nor some of the people actually working in the sport.
“Anthoine is a hero as far as I’m concerned, for taking the risk he did to chase his dreams. I’m so sad that this has happened. Let’s lift him up and remember him.”
His message was re-shared by many. While the F1, MotoGP, WEC, Formula E, IndyCar and many other communities has paid their respects, Hubert’s immediate rivals in F2 and supporter Renault have spoken well too.