SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- Formula One rookie Lando Norris admitted after the Belgian Grand Prix he had struggled to come to terms with the accident which claimed the life of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert a day earlier.
Hubert, 22, was killed after losing control of his BWT Arden car and being hit at high-speed by another car during F2's feature race on Saturday. The French driver, a member of Renault F1's junior academy, was a rising star in the junior ranks and was contesting the feeder series Norris, 19, raced in last year.
The F1 race went ahead as planned, albeit after a minute's silence to Hubert ahead of the start. Many drivers admitted to being in a difficult place -- Charles Leclerc was subdued as he claimed a maiden F1 win in honour of his friend, Pierre Gasly said it was the most emotional he had ever felt before a race, while Daniel Ricciardo admitted he wasn't even sure he wanted to race on Saturday evening.
Norris, who was robbed a career-best fifth position finish when his McLaren car suffered a failure at the start of the final lap, said it had been difficult to get himself into the right frame of mind.
"I didn't feel great ahead of today's race," Norris said. "What happened here on Saturday could happen to any of us. It could have been me last year racing in Formula Two.
"When you think like that, it starts shaking you. Maybe some people take it better than others, but I didn't take it too well. At the end of the day, my job is to race for the team. I still need to live my life, move on and do things that sometimes I don't want to do.
"I wanted to race today, but at the same time I felt so sorry for everyone involved. I don't even like talking about it. He was a racer like we all are but he was just the unlucky guy.
"It was very unexpected, and something that is so rare, but at the same time it could still happen in Formula One."
Motor racing's governing body, the FIA, has launched a full investigation into the crash. The other driver involved in the collision, Juan Manuel Correa, remains in intestive care at CHU Liège hospital having suffered leg fractures and a minor spinal injury. An update on Monday morning said the American driver was awake and aware of the outcome of the accident and that he faces a "very lengthy rehabilitation program" whenever doctors clear him to return to the U.S.
Hubert's death led to an outpouring of tributes from around the motor racing community. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton said the incident was a stark reminder of the dangers still involved in motor racing.
Hamilton posted to Instagram on Saturday evening: "If a single one of you watching and enjoying this sport think for a second what we do is safe you're hugely mistaken.
"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's 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. Rest in peace brother."