Mercedes pair say Ferrari speed too hot to handle at Spa

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas acknowledged Ferrari's straight-line speed was simply too much to overcome on Sunday as Charles Leclerc claimed victory in the Belgian Grand Prix.

A day on from the death of his childhood friend Anthoine Hubert following a collision in Saturday's Formula 2 race at Spa, Leclerc produced a superb display from pole to earn his maiden F1® triumph.

As his tyres faded, the 21-year-old came under significant pressure from Hamilton in the closing laps.

However, the reigning world champion had to settle for second, with Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Bottas finishing third ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

"I gave it absolutely everything that I had," said Hamilton. "The Ferraris were just too fast in the straights. It was very, very hard to keep up with them but I got as close as I could at the end."

Making reference to his race number and the 44-lap task at Spa, Hamilton added: "Forty-four is usually my lucky number but maybe we needed a few more laps today.

"Nonetheless, congratulations to Charles [on his] first win. He's had it coming all year, so I'm really happy for him."

In his first race since his deal with Mercedes was extended to the end of the 2020 season, Bottas never threatened to triumph but at least secured a spot on the podium.

"The race was very complicated. Ferrari was always strong on the straights," said the Finn. "There was no chance really for me."

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