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Hubert remembered by the racers closest to him
The shock of Anthoine Hubert's passing hit those in Formula 1's support series hard. Those closest to him in the Formula 2 and Formula 3 paddocks pay tribute to a "great friend" and "true racer"

  By Jack Benyon

Hubert F2 2019

Tributes have flooded in from the Formula 1 support series paddocks for Anthoine Hubert, who passed away after a crash in last weekend's Spa Formula 2 feature race.

The shock of his passing on Saturday evening meant initial tributes were kept to a minimum on social media, but in the following days Hubert has been described as a "great friend", "the most complete driver I have ever raced against", and "like a big brother".

Autosport polled some of those closest to him and will continue to do so over the coming week.

Jake Hughes

ART Grand Prix team-mate to Hubert in 2018

Hughes Hubert F2 2019

Hughes was a close friend of Hubert's and his team-mate through the 2018 GP3 Series in which Hubert became champion.

Hughes now competes in the FIA Formula 3 Championship with HWA, which is housed in the same paddock as F2.

"I feel so grateful that I was able to meet him, let alone call him a friend. He was the most complete driver I have ever raced against and it was a pleasure to see him win the championship first-hand in the same team last year.

"His level of humility, especially for someone in this sport, I've never seen a package quite like him.

"It was difficult [to race on Sunday in F3]. I was really close with Anthoine. I wanted to do whatever was most respectful to his friends and family.

"I said, if the race was on, I don't think he would have liked it if we were the only car or team that weren't on the grid. I wanted to drive, but it was difficult."

Mathieu Zangarelli

ART Grand Prix F3 team boss

Zangarelli F2 2019

Zangarelli was so much more than Hubert's team boss in his title-winning year in 2018. He had coached Hubert before as part of the French ASN programme, while Hubert's GP3 crown also came in Zangarelli's first year as ART's team manager.

"How can I explain what I feel? I was really close to Anthoine. I saw him growing up. He was just a fantastic guy honestly, so that's why I think so many people are sad.

"He had the life he wanted, even if his life was a bit short. I'm sure that he spent fantastic times inside and outside of the car.

"All of his family were totally dedicated for him. I think a lot about his parents, his brother and all of the support he had around him, sponsors and so on. My wedding was one month ago, and he was there.

"He was really humble. He was so motivated for his life project. He wanted to be a Formula 1 driver as many other drivers here. He had the talent to fight with other competitors for that.

"For motorsport it's hard, it's always hard to lose young people like this. But for sure he had so many qualities. Maybe I'm not subjective because I was so close to him, but he was humble, fair, kind with everyone. That's why it's so sad.

"The two last years in GP3 were important in his career, mainly the title last year. It was with ART, I was a driver coach with him before and then team manager. Even before [2017] when he was in the French ASN programme. I was supporting him from Formula Renault until GP3.

"Between 2017 and '18, Seb [Sebastien Phillipe, ART boss] asked me to become the GP3 team manager so my role was not the same, but of course I was really close to him.

"I know for ART it is so difficult, for the staff also, because he was French and he so kind with everyone, its sad for the whole team. We have a lot of thought to him. We hope he will be fine in the sky."

Max Fewtrell

Renault Sport Academy member with Hubert

Fewtrell Spa F2 2019

Although Fewtrell didn't compete against Hubert, he is part of the same Renault Sport Academy as Hubert and the group regularly conducts training camps together. In the summer break, Hubert, Fewtrell and other Renault juniors had ridden 704km over six days in the Col d'Aubisque in the Pyrenees, with the juniors forging a special bond.

"Ever since he joined the programme he's been mega to all of us. I've looked at him as a bigger brother, showing me the way forward and how to be better, in every aspect.

"I'd learn from him every time. Everything about him was amazing, and obviously, he had a bright future ahead of him. He was doing really well with the car he had and he's gone too early.

"We need to remember him for the guy he was. The true racer he was as well. Everyone has a fake side to them, but he was genuine through and through."

Callum Ilott

ART Grand Prix team-mate to Hubert in 2018

Ilott F2 2019

Ilott was particularly badly affected by Saturday's events. Not only had he partnered Hubert in European F3 in 2016 and GP3 in '18, but his current F2 team-mate Juan Manuel Correa lies in intensive care having been caught up in the same crash as Hubert.

"To me, Anthoine was a great friend. A great team-mate that always pushed hard and [was] a deserved champion last year. Racing with him in ART, I could see why he was one of the smartest, cleverest drivers out there. He worked so hard all the time, was always on time, strategic and always doing the right thing.

"You never expect anything like this to happen in your whole career, especially at this age. Having known Anthoine since F3 and raced with him as a team-mate for two years, in 2016 and '18, I knew he was one of the fastest guys out there. We were always pushing each other and it's kind of surreal we will never do that again.

"We were even discussing our plans for next year recently and he had such a bright future ahead of him. It's so strange that one or two hours before the race we were talking, getting on the bus for the drivers' parade and then he's gone.

"I know he and his family worked very hard to keep him in racing. Even after he was champion last year, it was on the edge whether he would do F2 or not but he fought hard to get on the grid.

"I witnessed first-hand how great a job he did last year and this year, some of the results he was putting in, you knew he was going to go very far.

"He was such a genuine person and his family were very loving and very supportive. You saw the family at every race and you knew how much they cared about him and his career.

"I'm very sorry to lose you and my deepest condolences to your family and friends. Rest in peace, my friend."

Louis Deletraz

Long-term rival, a close friend

Deletraz Hubert

Deletraz has competed against Hubert in multiple categories. The two fought for victory in Monaco earlier this season and Hubert was victorious by less than a tenth of a second.

"I'm still in shock from the weekend. We all lost a fellow racer and friend. Anthoine was someone amazing. We had many on track battles, always hard racing but full of respect. Later on, we were having a laugh about it together. Anthoine was always kind and respectful, [and was] clearly one of the racers I respected the most in the paddock.

"I will always remember our race in Monaco [in F2, 2019]. He won it, I chased him till the end. At the moment I was frustrated with finishing second but at the same time happy for him after such a race. Our first F2 podium together and one I will remember all my life. Anthoine will be greatly missed."

Jack Aitken

F2 rival and fellow Renault junior

Aitken Hubert F2 2019

Aitken partnered Hubert in the ART GP3 squad in 2017, as well as getting to know Hubert through his long-time affiliation with Renault.

"It's hard to know what to say. I've raced him a long time and - as well as his clear talent, his sense of humour, his ability to call people out no matter what - the fact I saw him as a true, natural competitor. What I mean is he was everything I'd expect from a true racer, never backing away from a fight, always having a go, trying to turn the screw to force something. He wanted to win.

"It sounds silly, surely all drivers want that, but to want it and to be fierce about it, as Anthoine was, there's a lot less of those around than people might think. And it's nice knowing you're up against those guys, it's what makes the battles incredible, worthwhile. So he always had my respect, and I know I'll feel his absence on the track because of that."

Sergio Sette Camara

F2 rival

Sette Camara Hubert F2 2019

Sette Camara competed against Hubert in European F3 in 2016 and in F2 this season. He talked of his 'respect' for his rival.

"Anthoine was a champion and is respected by all of us. It is difficult to accept what happened, we will miss him very much. May God comfort his family's hearts."

Leonardo Pulcini

GP3 title rival in 2018

Pulcini Hubert GP3 2018

Pulcini is one of the most fierce on-track competitors in any of the junior single-seater categories but commended Hubert's humility.

"I will always remember Anthoine as he was one of the most simple people with incredible humility, he was an amazing driver, person, champion and friend."

Marcus Armstrong

FIA Formula 3 driver

Marcus Armstrong FIA F3

The FIA F3 race was the first action to take place on-track following Hubert's death, and 19-year-old Armstrong showed humility beyond his years by dedicating his victory to Hubert.

"I didn't know Anthoine personally, so I can only imagine how my friends in the Renault Academy must be feeling. I was at the front of the ceremony [Sunday's minute's silence] and I could see his mum and his brother holding the helmet and I was quite choked up to be honest, so I can only imagine how would feel if I knew him personally.

"To jump straight in the car [after the minute's silence], my engineer told me, 'OK, for the next hour you need to forget about this and be an animal on track. Just clear my head, because it's genuinely the only thing I've been able to think about for the last 12 hours back at the hotel as well. It's terrible.

"I know that it's not right to celebrate after what happened and I didn't feel the need to celebrate. I've never been this deflated after a race win in my whole life. The radio, I said on the radio, 'This one's for Anthoine', and then we kept the celebrations to a minimum. Just out of respect for the family."

Tatiana Calderon

Hubert's Arden F2 team-mate

Calderon Hubert Arden F2 2019

"Words simply can't describe my feelings. My heart is with Anthoine's family. I will race for him in Monza and I'll do my best to make him proud.

"My prayers and thoughts are also with Juan Manuel. I had the chance to visit him and I hope to see him fully recovered soon. Monza will be a difficult weekend for everyone, but we will do our very best, just like Anthoine would."

Nicholas Latifi

F2 rival

Hubert Latifi Monaco F2 2019

Latifi raced Hubert in F2 this year and said he was "fair and clean".

"As racing drivers we rarely think about the risks involved while competing. It's something in our DNA that allows us to do what we do. When something like this happens it's always a big shock to the whole motorsport community. It's such a small, tight-knit family, and everyone personally feels affected regardless of how close you were to the driver involved.

"I didn't know Anthoine too well on a personal level, but I could tell he was one of the genuine guys in the paddock. He always had a smile on his face and was always someone you could count on to race fair and clean.

"He was one of the drivers that impressed me most this year with some of his performances. It's never easy coming into F2 as a rookie, and with a team that historically has struggled quite a bit, but he always managed to outperform what was expected of him.

"For sure he was going to be a title contender had he come back for a second season - he was going to have a bright future in motorsport.

"It will be difficult to arrive back on track in Monza knowing we will be missing one of our F2 family members but I'm sure he would have wanted us all to race on hard right until the end. Again, I send my sincere condolences to Anthoine's family and friends."

Simon Abadie

Team boss of the Tech 1 outfit Hubert raced for in Formula Renault

Tech 1 Racing Nurburgring Blancpain 2019

Abadie said he was "proud" to have worked with Anthoine. The team participated in a minute's silence before last weekend's second Blancpain World Challenge Europe race.

"The whole team was devastated to hear of Anthoine's death. He was a really great guy who had a very endearing personality and we're proud to have worked with him for more than two years. Our sport is dangerous and his death is a brutal reminder of this despite the deep sense of injustice we all feel."

Garry Horner

Arden International Motorsport team principal

Anthoine Hubert Garry Horner Arden Monaco F2 2019

Horner rated Hubert highly and offered his thanks to the racing community for the support Arden had received in the lead up to the Monza round.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic events that unfolded last weekend at Spa. First and foremost, our thoughts remain with Anthoine's family at this difficult time.

"As a team, we will always hold Anthoine dear to our hearts even more so as the championship now moves forward to Monza.

"I would, both personally and on behalf of the Arden family, also like to express heartfelt thanks to our friends, racing colleagues and associates for the warmth of their support."

Kenny Kirwan

Arden F2 team manager

Kenny Kirwan Anthoine Hubert Arden F2 2019

Kirwan was working hard alongside Arden to secure Hubert's signature for next year amid strong interest from many teams.

"Following on from Spa where we left under a very dark cloud, it is with a heavy heart that we prepare to race again at the Monza without Anthoine. It will be a difficult event for us all, but we are determined to race on in his memory."

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