Lewis Hamilton Left Stunned After Witnessing Fatal Crash During Live Interview
F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been left shaken after witnessing the horror crash that claimed the life of F2 star Anthoine Hubert during a live TV interview.
The 34-year-old instantly knew Saturday's incident was serious, halting the interview as he watched the tragedy unfold at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
"Oh wow, I hope that kid's good. That's terrifying," he exhaled.
The Frenchman, 22, hit a barrier at 240 kilometres an hour and then another when he was hit by the car of Juan Manuel Correa who could do nothing to avoid the crash.
Hubert was taken to a local medical centre but died a short time later. Correa was forced to undergo leg and spinal surgery and is recovering in hospital.
The accident has rocked the world of motorsport.
Hamilton led the flood of tributes on social media.
"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," he wrote on Instagram.
"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.
"Rest in peace brother," he continued.
Drivers in Sunday's Belgium Grand Prix wore black armbands and observed a minutes silence.
Hubert's mother and brother stood holding his race helmet in front of the visibly emotional drivers.
Supporters also paid their respects to the late driver with a standing ovation during the 19th lap of the race, Hubert's driving number.
Winner Charles Leclerc, who topped the podium for the first time in his career, choked back tears as he dedicated the win to his childhood friend.
"We have lost a friend first of all, and it's very difficult in these situations so I would like to dedicate this win to him," he said.
"We have grown up together and my first ever race I did when I was seven with Anthoine, so it's such a shame what happened.
"I can't fully enjoy my first victory but it is a memory that will live with me forever."
Australian Daniel Ricciardo also raised safety concerns, telling the Grand Prix website that he thought about throwing in the towel in the wake of the incident and that it was Hubert's family that gave him strength.
"You question, 'is it really worth it?', for sure," he said
"Because at the end of the day, it's a simple question, but it's a pretty honest one as well. Yeah, it's our job and it's our profession and it's our life, but also it's still just racing cars around in circles."
"To be honest, seeing some of his family here today, that's what gave me more strength than anything else."
There have been a number of high profile crashes in recent years, despite safety improving drastically since the 1990s.
F1 race director, Michael Masi, said a comprehensive investigation into the incident at Spa is underway and will include the FIA and Belgian authorities