Jules Bianchi’s F1 peers pay their tributes to absent friend

In Hungary today, during their media sessions and press conferences, Formula 1’s drivers were able to pay their personal tributes to Jules Bianchi. Here is a selection of what they had to say…

Valtteri Bottas

"It's been tough obviously, for everyone who knew Jules, everyone in F1. I can't even imagine the family. It was not an easy day on Tuesday, to let go.

"He was just a nice guy everyone liked, so it's not been easy. And being his teammate before in Formula 3 I knew him pretty well. But life goes on, and now we're here to race again.

"For sure for me the best place to be is in the car with the helmet on, because then I have less other thoughts than driving. You don't think anything else other than driving, so I'm looking forward to it."

Romain Grosjean

"I cannot pick a favourite memory, I have too may with Jules. The first time I heard his name was in 2003, he was much better in go karts than I was, he was a bit younger.

"He won everywhere. I think we shared a lot with Jules, so it was a very nice ceremony, very emotional. His parents were happy to see us, and of course this week all our thoughts go to him. Personally, I will never forget. We race, and we race for Jules."

Lewis Hamilton

"For me, personally, I've experienced it before, so it's been very, very similar, the whole experience. When I was nine years old, a kid, and I remember it like it was yesterday, I was talking to him before the race – and he passed away actually at the track.

"I remember going to the funeral, and that experience, so it was very much deja vu for me. It's something that we never want to see in the sport. It's really difficult just to grasp the sheer magnitude I guess of it really. It's painful to see people unhappy.

"When you go to a funeral naturally you see all his close friends and family... I couldn't say I was a close friend of Jules, I didn't really know him that well. It feels awkward to talk about, because we are here today, we are healthy, and a great, gifted, young, talented individual is not here today.

"It's hard to comment about it. But I really do believe that coming here, he'd want us to race. If he was here, he would be racing, going flat-out. I guess the best thing we can do for him is go and do the same thing."

Nico Hulkenberg

"He has been my teammate twice – I remember in 2008, my second year in F3 and supposed to win the championship, and he came in as a rookie, I remember a race in Mugello. I started from pole and take off – I see him in my mirrors, chasing me down, he was burning his tyres and I was saving.

"It showed how competitive he was, so hungry for success, even outside track great fun a lot of great moments together and we will miss him."

Felipe Massa

"Jules first of all was a great friend, because I met him when I was racing go karts because we have the same manager, Nicolas [Todt] started to work with Jules. He was still at the end of his go-kart career and I met him at that time and for me he was a fantastic boy, very nice, very humble and an amazing driver.

"Unfortunately in F1, he didn't have the opportunity to race in a competitive car. He showed his talent anyway by finishing in the points in Monaco with car he was driving, everyone knows it was an amazing thing he did in that race.

"For me, the experience I had with Jules, we did a lot of go-kart racing together in Brazil, and in my experience he is the best go-kart driver I saw, it was amazing.

"It is not nice to see what happened, so difficult to be there in the church and understand what happened, and it is so sad. But I am sure he is good place now, racing and enjoying and definitely looking here to all of us from whatever place he is.

"I think he was an amazing boy, a fantastic driver and I really hope the best for his family as well."

Roberto Merhi

"First time I met Jules was in 2002, in karting, it was a race in Spain, he was coming from France, when that young guy, coming to a track he didn't know, it's hard to be quick – I remember I was surprised to see that guy who was really quick.

"He impressed everyone, and I followed him closely as we used to race together in go karts and he was always one of the drivers who was reference. When I jumped into Formula Renault in 2007 we did a few races together, and again he won the championship straight away, it was really incredible.

"For me he was the biggest talent I saw in motorsport and also in 2009, in F3, we were fighting against him, he was the man to beat that year, and he won the championship with so many good drivers.

"He won it so easily, winning so many races and that is how good he was, for me he was not able to show in an F1 car what he was able to do, because he was the best driver I raced against."

Sergio Perez

"I met him in GP2, and spent time with him in the Ferrari Academy. You could see he was a special driver and a special person, he was very humble and a great human – we all share the same opinion that Jules was a very special driver that didn't have the opportunity to show what he could do in F1, we realised he was a potential champion for the future.

"He was a special driver, and it's very sad. We share as a driver special moments in drivers' briefing, we are not best friends but we always share comments, we see each other every 15 days, we spend a lot of time together and not to see him ever again it really shocks you.

"It is really, really hard for all of us, not only for drivers but for everyone who is involved in the sport, to lose someone, you know, you could be there.

"I was talking the other day to his father, it is very difficult for the whole family, his family is our family in a way, and we are part of the family now. Jules will stay for us forever.

"What Jules did for the sport is a great ambassador for us, and he will always be in our hearts."

Nico Rosberg

"The funeral was very, very sad, emotional and intense, of course. It was great to see the amount of people, the attendance. We hope that we've given a little bit of strength to his family as a result of us being there.

"And of course it remains a tough period, but at the same time as a racing driver over the years I've learned that when the visor goes down I put all those thoughts to the side, and go for it."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Hungarian GP
Track Hungaroring
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Nico Hulkenberg , Sergio Perez , Romain Grosjean , Jules Bianchi , Roberto Merhi , Valtteri Bottas
Article type Breaking news