Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg were among mourners at the Sainte Reparate Cathedral the driver’s home city of Nice. Driving in a downpour at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in 2014, Bianchi collided with a stationary crane that had been clearing the wreckage of Adrian Sutil’s Sauber, which had crashed there a lap prior.
Race helmet perched on his coffin, Jules Bianchi was mourned Tuesday as a “humble” victor in a Formula One career cut short in the sport’s first deadly crash in more than 20 years.
Formula One world champions past and present paid their respects to Jules Bianchi and mourned one of their own at the French driver’s funeral on Tuesday.
Bianchi died on Friday night following the devastating brain injuries he sustained in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix on October 5.
Sebastian Vettel, the four-time former world champion, helped carry the coffin out of the cathedral in a poignant reminder that if fate had not cruelly intervened Bianchi would have joined the German as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement at Ferrari next season.
It had been 22 years since Ayrton Senna became the last Formula One driver to die because of injuries suffered during a race, at San Marino in 1994.
Speaking after the service to Sky Sports, former Toro Rosso and current Ferrari development driver Jean-Eric Vergne said: “Today has been a special day”.
Hamilton, who posted an emotive tribute on his social media accounts to Bianchi on Monday evening, joined a number of his peers to pay their respects to Bianchi ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Marussia team, now known as Manor, said Bianchi had left an “indelible mark on all our lives”.
Solemn applause resonated as the family took the casket inside Sainte Reparate Cathedral, then church bells sounded.