Vettel recalls Lauda letter after F1 legend's passing
Sebastian Vettel has explained his decision to send a letter to Niki Lauda as the Austrian recovered from a lung transplant, saying Lauda's push for safety in Formula 1 leaves him in eternal gratitude after the 70-year-old's passing this week.
Lauda said the hand-written letter was a "great pleasure… full of fine words" as he had been hospitalised last year.
Having suffered further complications recently, Lauda passed away this week, with many tributes planned for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Asked about his decision to send Lauda the letter, Vettel said: "Obviously I heard he's not doing well, and he's not doing well for a while, and he wasn't in the mood to pick up the phone or talk.
"I think what you would appreciate if you were in that situation just reading a little note is a nice thing.
"For me it was a no-brainer and a sign of respect [not just] for what he has achieved but also personally what he has done for the sport.
"I think partly the reason why we see the cars as they are today is to him in terms of safety for the driver. If it wasn't for people like him pushing the boundaries at this time and many other reasons then we wouldn't be where we are now."
The Ferrari driver paid tribute to Lauda's personality and steadfast rejection of the fake.
Vettel said: "He's a hero and an idol for the sport. There are a lot of things we should look up to when we talk about Niki.
"First of all being so straight up. Despite his honest tongue, he was always a gentleman as well.
"I think it's a big loss to Formula 1, and to the community. It's an icon that we lost and will be impossible to replace."
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