FORMULA 1

NIKI LAUDA DIES AT 70

Three-time world champion Jackie Stewart told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “During that accident he died twice and was resuscitated.

“Recovering from that accident, he came to Monza [for the Italian Grand Prix], which I was doing commentary for. He shouldn’t have been there but wanted to get back to racing.

“I will never forget him putting his helmet on and he was suffering so much pain. When he came out from driving at the end I was there and the blood was running down out of his helmet.

“It’s very sad news. I’ve known Niki for a long time and he was just entering grand prix racing when I was retiring. We had a season together. He always had great integrity and was one the smoothest, best drivers I’ve ever seen.”

Team principal Toto Wolff said: “First of all, on behalf of the team and all at Mercedes, I wish to send our deepest condolences to Birgit, Niki’s children, his family and close friends.

“Niki will always remain one of the greatest legends of our sport – he combined heroism, humanity and honesty inside and outside the cockpit.

“His passing leaves a void in Formula 1. We haven’t just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula 1. He will be greatly missed as our voice of common sense.

“Our Mercedes team has also lost a guiding light.

“As a team-mate over the past six and a half years, Niki was always brutally honest – and utterly loyal. It was a privilege to count him among our team and moving to witness just how much it meant to him to be part of the team’s success.”

Nico Rosberg, who won the world title in 2016 with Mercedes, tweeted: “Dear Niki. Thank you for everything that you did for me. I learned so much from you.

“Your passion, your fighting spirit, to never give up, you belief that you always meet twice in life, and even your patience with us youngsters.

“Myself and all of your 100 million fans around the world whom you also so strongly inspired to never give up in the hardest of times are thinking of you and your family and wish that you rest in peace.”