Bianchi laid to rest in Nice as F1 community pays tribute one final time

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Jules Bianchi has been laid to rest at today’s funeral in Nice, in a service attended by family, close friends and a considerable number of Formula 1 drivers and others in the F1 community.

Members of the public were able to watch from outside.

A healthy number of drivers, including Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Pastor Maldonado, Marcus Ericsson and Roberto Merhi, were on hand while other figures including FIA president Jean Todt, four-time World Champion Alain Prost, Bianchi’s past teammate Max Chilton, Manor’s John Booth and Graeme Lowdon were all in attendance.

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

He passed away on Friday night at age 25, after suffering a diffuse axonal injury in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix. On Tuesday, the FIA announced it would retire his No. 17 from active competition.

Daniel Ricciardo posted these pictures below, and below that are a series of photos from the service.

PHOTOS FROM SERVICE

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Poster of Bianchi outside. Photo: Getty Images
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Jean-Eric Vergne hugs Jules’ father Philippe Bianchi. Photo: Getty Images
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Bianchi’s casket carried out. Photo: Getty Images
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All pay their respects. Photo: Getty Images
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Bianchi’s No. 17 adorned on a Ferrari from testing. Photo: Getty Images
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Large crowd outside. Photo: Getty Images
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Drivers pay their respects. Photo: Getty Images
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Drivers gather one last time. Photo: Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).