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F1 world pays tribute to Niki Lauda

Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff today led tributes to the team's chairman, Niki Lauda, who passed away on Monday evening.  

"First of all, on behalf of the team and all at Mercedes, I wish to send our deepest condolences to Birgit, Niki's children, his family and close friends. 
 
"Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport - he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit. 
 
"His passing leaves a void in Formula One. We haven't just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula One. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense. 
 
"Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light. As a team-mate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest - and utterly loyal. It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team's success. Whenever he walked the floor in Brackley and Brixworth, or delivered one of his famous motivational speeches, he brought an energy that nobody else could replicate. 
 
"Niki, you are quite simple irreplaceable, there will never be another like you. 

"It was our honour to call you our chairman - and my privilege to call you my friend."

Lauda famously returned to racing within five and a half weeks of a horrific crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix.

And British racer Billy Monger, who this week won his first race since having both legs amputated following a collision in 2017, was among those paying tribute to the three-time world champion.

"He was such an awesome guy - really supportive of what I was doing and encouraging me to get back racing. Obviously he had been through a similar event, not a similar injury but a serious accident like myself. It's just devastating what's happened."

Elsewhere the world of motor sport paid tribute, even as preparations for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix continued apace.

Lauda, you expect, who won the event himself twice in 1975 and 1976, wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

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