Lewis Hamilton has paid an emotional tribute to his “buddy” Niki Lauda, who has been hailed as the bravest driver in Formula One history.
Nine months after a lung transplant and following complications from influenza he contracted while on holiday in Ibiza in January, Lauda died with his family at his bedside in Vienna on Monday. He was 70.
The grand prix roadshow will mourn the loss of its triple world champion, and the non-executive chairman of Hamilton’s Mercedes team, when it arrives in Monaco on Wednesday.
Lauda’s close friend, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, Hamilton’s former Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, and Britain’s 2009 world champion Jenson Button were among a number of stars to acknowledge the Austrian’s death on social media.
In a statement, Lauda’s family said: “His unique successes as a sportsman and entrepreneur are and remain unforgettable.
“His tireless drive, his straightforwardness and his courage remain an example and standard for us all.
“Away from the public gaze, he was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. We will miss him very much.”
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