Mourners turned up in large numbers to commemorate the life of F1 driver Jules Bianchi, who lost his life on Saturday following 9 months in a coma. Services were held at the Sainte Reparate Cathedral in the driver’s hometown of Nice, France.
The young Frenchman, who was only 25-years-old when he passed away, had suffered what was described as a ‘diffuse axonal injury’, one of the most serious brain injuries a human being can sustain. 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.
Sutil did not sustain injuries in that incident.
Among the mourners were several of Bianchi’s colleagues. Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were both at the funeral.
Felipe Massa was seen praying by the coffin of Bianchi, standing beside a weeping Pastor Maldonado, who was close to the young driver, having shared a manager in Nicolas Todt. Maldonado had also been one of the first people at Bianchi’s bedside following the incident at Suzuka.
Sebastian Vettel and Bianchi’s compatriot Romain Grosjean were both not only at the funeral, but were among Bianchi’s pallbearers.
Jenson Button, who was also in attendance, led the toasts in remembrance of Bianchi and a celebration of his life at the memorial service following the funeral.