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F1 world pays tribute to Jules Bianchi

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Tributes pour in for F1 young speedy Jules Bianchi
F1 driver Jules Bianchi has died. Aged 25, the talented Frenchman has been unconscious since striking a recovery vehicle in fading light and wet conditions during last October’s Japanese grand prix.

The former Marussia driver’s family confirmed his death in a statement, saying Bianchi “passed away last night” in hospital in his native Nice.

“Jules fought right to the very end, as he always did, but today his battle came to an end,” the family announced.

“The pain we feel is immense and indescribable.”

Bianchi’s family, including his parents and two siblings, thanked medical staff in Japan and France, his fans and colleagues, and added: “We would like to ask that our privacy is respected during this difficult time, while we try to come to terms with the loss of Jules.”

Tributes poured in for French driver Jules Bianchi, who died from injuries sustained in a head-on crash during the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

“Words cannot describe the enormous sadness within our team this morning, as we come to terms with losing Jules,” said John Booth, team principal of Manor Marussia. “He has left an indelible mark on all our lives, and will forever be part of everything we have achieved, and everything we will strive for going forward.”

“Jules was a shining talent. He was destined for great things in our sport: Success he so richly deserved,” Booth said in a statement. “He was also a magnificent human being, making a lasting impression on countless people all over the world … he was an extremely warm, humble and intensely likable person who lit up our garage and our lives.”

F1 champion Lewis Hamilton tweeted: “A sad, sad day today, guys. Please pray for Jules’ loved ones. RIP Jules. God bless.” His Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg also offered his condolences.

Countryman Romain Grosjean, a rival driver for Lotus, expressed that reality in this tweet: “Yesterday we lost one of the best guys and best drivers I’ve ever met. I’ll miss you so much my friend.”

British driver Max Chilton, Bianchi’s teammate last year, tweeted: “No words can describe what his family and the sport have lost. All I can say it was a pleasure knowing and racing you.”

McLaren tweeted: “The thoughts of everybody at McLaren are with the friends and family of Jules Bianchi. You will be sorely missed. (hashtag)RIPJules (hashtag)ForzaJules”

Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, who raced against Grosjean and Bianchi, said: “I have no words… We will miss you my old friend…” Alongside his tweet, Vergne added a photo of a fresh-faced Bianchi, the joy and optimism clear on his face.

“He only had that (racing) in mind,” his father Philippe said in an interview with Var-Matin newspaper. “We looked after a track in Antibes and he would spend his time watching the customers going around the tarmac. As soon as his feet touched the pedals, he wanted to climb into a kart.”

Former F1 driver Jean Alesi, who raced in 202 GPs, also paid his respects.

“He fought right until the end. We thought a miracle could happen,” Alesi told RMC radio. “He was an endearing boy, very fair on the track and outside of it. He was well loved. He was joie de vivre personified. It’s a shock for everyone.”

“The world of motor sport is in mourning today,” motor sport’s governing body FIA said in a statement. “The sport has lost one of the most talented drivers of this generation, from a family that has such a strong presence in the history of the sport.”

“Last night we lost a truly great guy and a real fighter,” British driver Jenson Button, the 2009 F1 champion, tweeted.

Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas of the Williams team tweeted “You will be never forgotten.”

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