"I have lost a friend first of all, but it's very difficult in these situations.
"I would like to dedicate my first win to him. We have grown up together, my first ever race was with Anthoine when we were younger, with Esteban [Ocon], Pierre [Gasly]. It was just a shame what happened yesterday.
Hamilton had been bearing down on Leclerc in the closing stages, gaining with every lap, but in the end the five-time world champion just ran out of time, and the Monegasque admitted he was relieved to keep him at bay.
He added: "It's been a very difficult race, we were struggling quite a bit with the tyres towards the end. At the end it's a good weekend performance wise so I'm quite satisfied.
"At the end of the race it was definitely not easy, I had a quite a bit of pressure [from Lewis Hamilton] but I was happy to keep him in behind."
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