Niki Lauda: F1 stars attend Mass for late racing legend in Austria

Thousands of people, including Formula 1 stars, are paying their last respects to racing legend Niki Lauda, whose body is lying in state in Vienna, Austria.

His coffin, topped with his red crash helmet, was carried into St Stephen’s cathedral earlier on Wednesday.

A Mass will be held later, followed by a private funeral. Lauda died last week aged 70 in Switzerland, where he was treated for kidney problems.

The Austrian driver won Formula 1 championship in 1975, 1977 and 1984.

He almost died following a crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.

Despite suffering severe burns and inhaling toxic fumes, he resumed racing 40 days later.

Current Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is expected to be among a number of motor racing stars to attend Lauda’s funeral on Wednesday.

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After winning the Monaco Grand Prix last Sunday, the British driver paid tributes to Lauda.

“That was for you, Niki. Your fighting spirit was right there with me every step of the way,” Hamilton wrote in a post on Twitter.

“I know you are looking down and taking your hat off to us. I miss you, we truly miss you and I hope we did you proud today, legend.”

Former Formula 1 multiple champion Alain Prost from France is also expected to attend the Mass at St Stephen’s cathedral.

Speakers at the ceremony will include Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Austrian-American actor and former politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As non-executive chairman of Mercedes, Lauda helped them win both the drivers’ and constructors’ title in each of the past five seasons.

This article is from the BBC Sport website / bbc.co.uk – Niki Lauda: F1 stars attend Mass for late racing legend in Austria

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