Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: Tough time for F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes the sport of Formula One faces a challenging future after it was rocked by the death of Jules Bianchi.

Bianchi, who was laid to rest in his home city of Nice in France on Tuesday, died last week after he succumbed to the devastating brain injuries he sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix nine months ago.

Hamilton was among a number of current drivers to pay his final respects to Bianchi in a moving service at Sainte Reparate Cathedral on Tuesday.


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"Saying goodbye to Jules was incredibly hard for everyone," Hamilton said.

"For myself, I wished I had known him better. But from what I knew of him, he was a kind heart with a great spirit and a bright future.

"Now our sport embarks on a tough road ahead."

Bianchi is the first Formula One driver to die as a result of injuries sustained at a grand prix weekend since Ayrton Senna's death in Imola 21 years ago.

Hamilton added: "We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport, that these should be respected and that we drivers commit ourselves to the chance that those dangers are there when we step into the car.

"We have made great progress for safety thus far and I know that the FIA will continue to make steps forward to improve even further."

The Hungarian Grand Prix stages the final race before the four-week summer break, but the sport arrives in Budapest under a dark cloud following Bianchi's death.

Hamilton, a four-time winner in Hungary, holds a 17-point lead over Nico Rosberg in the fight for the championship.

And the 30-year-old Briton says he will carry Bianchi's spirit, not only with him this weekend, but for the remainder of his Formula One career as he bids to defend his championship crown.

"Hungary is a beautiful place, one of my favourites," Hamilton added.

"I will be carrying Jules with me in my prayers and thoughts, not only this race but for the rest of my driving days.

"I know he'd want us to race hard as he did, and so I will."

Rosberg, who also attended Bianchi's funeral on Tuesday, echoed his Mercedes team-mate's sentiments.

"It has been a very emotional week," he said.

"The drivers paid our final respects to Jules and said farewell.

"He was a very talented driver and a good guy. My thoughts in these days are with his family and close friends.

"Everyone will be sharing the same feelings in the paddock this week - but we must race on and race hard for Jules as he would have wanted to be doing himself."

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