LAID TO REST: Pallbearers carry the casket of F1 driver Jules Bianchi into the Nice cathedral during his funeral in Nice, France on July 21 2015. Image: AP / Lionel Cironneau
BUDAPEST, Hungary – Formula 1 drivers were still mourning French driver Jules Bianchi on Thursday (July 24) but made clear that his death would not change the way they race or their willingness to take risks.
Bianchi died in hospital on Friday (July 17 2015), nine months after his Marussia car slammed under a recovery tractor at the 2014 Japanese GP.
He was 25 and the first F1 driver since three-times champion Ayrton Senna and Austrian Roland Ratzenberger, killed on the same race weekend in 1994, to die from injuries sustained during a race weekend.
'I HAVE JULES ON MY MIND'
Felipe Massa, who suffered a near-fatal head injury in Hungary in 2009, told reporters at the Hungaroring ahead of Sunday's race that he would drive as hard as ever.
He was driving for Ferrari at that time; now he's with Williams. He said: "When you close your visor you want the best, you want to finish in front... the way you drive, your thinking, I don't think it will change.
"You just think about your job, your work. I don't think that will change but now I have Jules all the time on my mind."
Massa shared his manager with Bianchi, spent time with him away from the track, and remembered his friend as "a fantastic boy, very nice, very humble and an amazing driver”.
Others shared that opinion, hailing Bianchi’s talent in karts and junior series, but also said the Frenchman would have wanted them to carry on as normal, doing what they loved.
MAKING 'JULES PROUD'
Force India's Sergio Perez, with Bianchi at Ferrari’s young driver academy, said: "We all know it could have been ourselves in that car but it doesn't really change anything. We want to succeed, we want to take every tenth out of the car.
"We just give it all. I don't think it will change. We all have to make Jules very proud."
French driver Romain Grosjean, a pallbearer at Bianchi's funeral in Nice cathedral, agreed. "It's in our nature to take risks. You need to be 100% in the car and not thinking about what could happen, if and if. We know it's a dangerous sport but I think that was a hard way to remember that.
"But when the helmet is on and the visor is closed, it's racing 100%. That's what we've always been doing and that's what racing drivers will always do."
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